It’s been a tough week for Denver’s food and booze scene. Night Market Denver (stylized NTMRKT), the popular and burgeoning market for restaurant start-ups and emerging product retailors, has formally severed ties with founder Virgil Dickerson after allegations of sexual misconduct arose on social media a week prior. Dickerson, who is also known for his KREAM Kimchi Company was formerly the marketing manager at Illegal Pete’s for eight years before starting NTMRKT up in 2020 as a means for small businesses to collectively promote themselves amidst economic fallout from the pandemic.
According to the Denver Post, previously unreported allegations against Dickerson began to emerge in mid-2020, but a recent post last Wednesday seemingly tipped the scale to the point where the alleged abuse became widely known.
On Tuesday, in a since-deleted Facebook post, Dickerson seemingly referenced the allegations by blaming it all on alcoholism, while notably failing to acknowledge the alleged victims. Following the said post, a tidal wave of NTMRKT vendors also cut ties with the entire organization, despite Dickerson’s removal, including Mukja Food Truck and Yuan Wonton.
Despite the emerging controversies around its former founder, NTMRKT is planning to relaunch. As of publishing, the Night Market Instagram page has scrubbed its social media account of all of Dickerson’s branding and put up a placeholder name instead. “Made By Us” is tentatively slated to be the new name of the market, and it will be led by Terra Apothecary’s Jose De La Torre.
NTMRKT, via an Instagram story, shared the news and postponed all their markets this upcoming weekend.
“This weekend has been a difficult one for our community. Some serious and sensitive issues have been unearthed. The community we have built through these markets is so strong and as a community, we are banding together to create a new market as soon as possible.”
Further information about the new “Made By Us” market is not yet public but we will update this article when it becomes available.