Just a few days and counting to the big event weekend at The Lot Downtown SHV. The former Sportran Bus Terminal at 400 Crockett Street will be alive with food, music and vendors on Friday, Nov. 20 and Saturday, Nov. 21. Special musical guests were just announced-
…and join a great lineup already set-
In addition to music will be a wide variety of food vendors and artist booths. The Lot will be open Friday, Nov. 20 from 5-10 pm and Saturday, Nov. 21 from 1-10 pm.
There’s been a lot of action this week at 400 Crockett Street. Windows are being washed, hedge ivy trimmed, concrete power washed, and lots of calories burned. All the cleaning up is a prelude to fun and fun is coming, with the opening weekend planned for Nov. 20 and 21. Mark out the entire weekend on your calendars in big red type 3 Full Days of Fun! Not only will it be The Lot’s grand opening weekend, but also the return of the Scottish Rite Antique and Vintage Bazaar, the C&C Mercantile Downtown Mini Market, and several other fun events we will be telling you about in the next couple of weeks.
The Lot kicks off Friday, Nov. 20 from 5-10 pm with food and live music and resumes the fun on Saturday, Nov. 21 from 1-10 pm.
How did The Lot come about? Dreams, imagination and hard work.
For several years now, people have looked at the old Sportran Terminal in the 400 block of Crockett and had a single thought…’Wow. Wouldn’t that be a great location for a food truck court?’ The old terminal is a cool place, there is no doubt. The structure with the swooping canopy landed in the pages of Architectural Digest; it was a radical design for downtown and Shreveport that quickly won over naysayers and became an iconic landmark. It did what terminals are supposed to do- provide a place for the public out of the elements and parking for the buses carrying them to and from. The city decided to move their terminal to Murphy Street, and in 2019, the terminal sold to an investor owner in Monroe, La. The once-lively terminal went dark and quiet, its future uncertain.
Edgar Guzman and his wife Deshea cycle downtown, and often their rides took them by the terminal. Edgar laughs that he and his wife are ‘foodies’, they enjoy sampling the wonderful food of the area often; they love to cook, both of them have backgrounds in the restaurant/service industry. “We would stop by the terminal and talk about how it could be so much more,” Guzman told me. “One day I was on a food truck Facebook page and met Kat Santos and things took off.” Santos is a chef and caterer in East Texas, the founder and owner of Foodworx, a nonprofit commissary that works to help small businesses find their food mojo. Her efforts have led to successful stories for multiple caterers and food truck owners. She and Edgar hit it off, and she was intrigued by his interest of a food court concept, and later, by the terminal space itself. It seemed to both that the space held great possibility for a food truck court, an event and festival space, a place for live music and pop up businesses and potentially, more. Guzman reached out to Brandon Fail, Economic Development director for the City of Shreveport and Norman Cone, Business Consultant the the Louisiana Small Business Development Center to assist with market research, financial projections, a business plan and strategies. Once dialed in, Fail contacted the DDA about the status of the former bus station and after the DDA contacted the owner, the opportunity for The Lot at the terminal was born.
Guzman is finishing up his site plan on the 4600 SF space now, and his phone is ringing constantly. “This is taking off,” he said this week. “People are thrilled.” He has already spoken to some of the brightest in the local food universe- Gabriel Balderas of El Cabo Verde, Brad Jones of the upcoming The Revenir French restaurant, Eleazar and Rodrigo Mondragon of Ki’ Mexico- and others, to enlist their interest and help, and he is starting to reach out to food trucks that have been hurt by slow sales during COVID-19 and the lack of places in which to set up and vend. Guzman intends for The Lot to be the place to find some of the best food anywhere in the area with other attractions including artists and musicians. “This is about bringing small businesses together and working as one,’ he says, “but we don’t want to leave established businesses out. They are welcome, too.”
Guzman plans to open the terminal and show off his concept to the public on Nov. 20 & 21. After that will be three to four other events that will run the gamut of experience but will all center on food. Wife Deshea, a talented artist in her own right, will be assisting every step of the way, and if the concept flies after a ‘proving’ period, will become the ‘go-to’ for the new facility.
It’s an exciting and pretty crazy time for Guzman, who has come a long way from his first high school job as a bus boy at Superior Grill, a bartender at The Village and manager of the original Oyster Bar, from treks to Lake Charles, where he set up and fed 800 people in the aftermath of recent hurricanes and to south Shreveport, where he and friends handed out 700 tacos to first responders and power company crews working on downed trees and power lines in the wake of Hurricane Laura.
It all goes back to his love of food, cooking and people and The Lot will put him right where he wants to be.