A new market in City Park West is bringing light back to the neighborhood after the pandemic prompted some businesses to close.
Sun Market opened June 25 at 2201 N. Lafayette St. in an 1,800-square-foot space that used to be a hair salon. It sells fresh produce, non-perishable foods and toiletries, and features local food brands such as Izzio Artisan Bakery and Tague Farm, both based in Denver.
“I kind of think of it as like a combination of Spinelli’s mixed with Natural Grocers mixed with a bodega,” said owner Andrea Leo. “It’s kind of just what I would’ve wanted.”
Spinelli’s is an Italian market in Park Hill that opened in 1994.
Leo said she wanted to open Sun Market as a way to bring the neighborhood together and showcase the local businesses along 22nd Avenue. While the market sells primarily food items, Leo also hopes to sell books by Denver authors and other products made locally.
She also has space for outdoor seating and food trucks on the corner of 22nd Avenue and Lafayette Street, Leo said.
When the pandemic set in, Leo, who lives near Sun Market, walked around the neighborhood with her kids and noticed that the neighborhood shops, like Scoop’s Homemade Ice Cream and Forastero, lost some sense of community with everyone staying at home.“Many other neighborhoods have their avenues that are destinations and I feel like 22nd Avenue has been a little sleepy,” Leo said. “But I’m hoping something like this will help everyone, all of the neighbors, and be an anchor.”
Leo leases the space.
She spent 17 years working as a waitress and bartender before having kids. When the pandemic started, she said, she decided she needed a job where her kids could come to work with her.