Kate's Fish Taking a Two-Week Break at the West Side Market, Which Continues to Have Issues

Kate's Fish is taking a little break at the WSM - COURTESY KATE'S FISH
Courtesy Kate's Fish
Kate's Fish is taking a little break at the WSM

Visitors to the West Side Market this week and next will find one usually bustling vendor stall empty along with the assorted others that have been darkened this year after retirements and closures.

Kate's Fish announced over the weekend that it'll be taking a two-week break, closing until at least Sept. 10, to do additional work on its stall and training with staff.

Owner Tom McIntyre, in an Instagram post, tied the closure to continuing issues at the market.

"2021 has been a year of seemingly endless and unprecedented challenges facing the vendors @westsidemarket. On this, our 20th year of business within this historic institution, we have endured multiple power outages, sweltering heat and record humidity within the main market hall due to a lack of ventilation, vendors risking their lives to bring product into the building on a steep ramp due to constantly broken elevators, rain in the basement, equipment failures due to constant power outages, coolers reaching unsafe temperatures with no system to alert or warn tenants, and a complete and utter lack of competent management that has left this facility in the worst shape i’ve ever seen," he wrote.

Those issues include an electrical fire in the basement over the weekend that damaged good and equipment of three vendors, including Jim's Meats, which has remained closed since the incident.

"The results are what happens when you have neglect. This is what happens," Mark Zarefoss of Jim's Meats told WEWS. "The conditions are unacceptable, brutal, dangerous. They are a hazard."

"Right now [the city is] looking at a company to come in and clean and restore everything," his wife Minnie Zarefoss told the station. "Obviously, all the insurance companies have to come in and assess the damage and then we’ll do whatever comes next. Everyone is going to try to do what they can to get us back to work as quickly as we can. That’s all we want."

The West Side Market has been an issue on the Cleveland mayoral primary campaign trail. Here's where all seven candidates stand on whether to hand over management to a nonprofit operator.
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