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Mercado on Fifth aims to showcase businesses and neighborhood

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MOLINE, Illinois - It was the grand opening for a new market in the Floreciente neighborhood, but it's offering more than just fresh food.

El Mariachi has been serving food in Moline for 25 years and when owner Virginia Castro was asked if she wanted to her business to get more publicity, she couldn't say no, "I think I was the first person to say yes."

That opportunity is the new market in Moline called the Mercado on Fifth.

The vision that started ten years ago has now become a reality.

"I'm realizing there's a lot of small businesses that need opportunities to get started so we`re trying to provide that for people," said organizer Maria Ontiveros.

Besides offering fresh produce, music and food, it's a way to showcase small businesses.

"I think it's great it gets our name out, its free advertising and we`re doing something for the community it`s a family event and we need more of those," said Maria.

Also showcasing culture, vendors on display represent a variety of countries.

"We`ve got people from Africa, Ecuador, Mexico, Spain, we got people from all over," said organizer, Bob Ontiveros.

All of which can be found in the Floreciente neighborhood.

"Next year and the year after we`re going to have a train station, we`re having a new hotel opening next spring so this is a showcase, this is the gateway to the Floreciente," said Bob.

A neighborhood that's trying to overcome a troubling past is hoping this market will be the fresh start it needs.

"I think Floreciente used to have a bad reputation and this is helping you know, its improved so much over the years and people need to see this this is a good community," said Castro.

Organizers hope to keep the market going until late October. It will be held every Friday from 5-9pm with food, music and free outdoor movie showing.

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