Night Market Denver cuts ties with founder Virgil Dickerson

Night Market Denver, a hip, roving, pandemic-era outdoor market, on Tuesday said it would shut down this weekend after cutting ties with founder Virgil Dickerson.

Dickerson, who runs the Kream Kimchi company and formerly worked at Illegal Pete’s burrito chain, founded Night Market Denver in 2020 as a way for small businesses to sell their wares during the pandemic shutdown. He has been accused of assault in several Facebook and Instagram posts starting in mid-2020.

Complaints resurfaced on social media over the weekend, and Dickerson told Night Market members that he would step away from the project permanently.

“This weekend has been a difficult one for our community,” reads a message, attributed to the Night Market Denver collective, posted Tuesday in an Instagram Story. “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.”

When reached Tuesday afternoon, Dickerson said the split was “really hard.”

“I made some mistakes in my past and I’m trying to do the work to be a better person,” he said via phone. “I feel completely horrible and I feel I let a lot of people down. (As for) Kream… I haven’t really thought that far… I’m going to do the work and make an attempt to make amends, even though it will not take away any of the things I’ve done.”

Night Market Denver’s Instagram account (instagram.com/ntmrktden), which was formerly run by Dickerson, also deleted its previous posts and changed its description to “under new management.” It was the collective’s decision to split from Dickerson, and Dickerson approved, according to a spokesman.

Dave Hadley, a member of Night Market Denver who owns Samosa Shop, said the event has provided the lion’s share of his income since it began in September. He was shocked by the allegations and angry with Dickerson for leaving the event in disarray, he said, as are others at Night Market Denver.

“We live on this market,” he said. “We always tried to make it (a) safe environment for people to come to, and as far as I know, it was. But moving forward we’re going to do this a collective, with a new name and concept.”

Night Market Denver is “made up largely of vendors pivoting to their side hustle after losing jobs due to the pandemic recession,” wrote Beth Rankin, Denver Post entertainment editor, in December. “… the new Night Market Denver regularly popped up at struggling local businesses, offering visitors a chance to buy local goods, snack on creative street food and throw their favorite bars and restaurants a few bucks.”

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