24 Hours Daily: Dragomir Dimitrov, Executive Director of „Vazrazhdane Markets“ EAD:

24 Hours Daily: Dragomir Dimitrov, Executive Director of „Vazrazhdane Markets“ EAD:

In 1 year we have proven that we are a socially responsible company and we work for people.

– Mr. Dimitrov, what changed in the year, since you took over “Vazrazhdane Markets“ EAD?

– Last year, with the new Management Board of “Vazrazhdane Markets“ EAD – with the chairperson Margarita Aleksandrovа and Veselin Teofilov, we started the implementation of the ideas for the establishment of Zhenski Pazar Market and “Dimitar Petkov“ Market as modern trading spaces, offering good business conditions, high-quality products and services. We would like to make them places for Bulgarian goods and producers, and at the same time – social cultural communication spaces. We are managing the as a socially-responsible company, sensitive to the current public issues and socially vulnerable social groups.

Earlier this year we organized competitions for the renting of retail areas – pavilions and stalls at both markets, as Bulgarian merchants and producers showed enormous interest. We are seeing a 3% growth in Company’s revenues.

For the first time in Bulgaria, at Zhenski Pazar Market we have introduced an innovative technology – a system, monitoring in real time, when the underground household waste containers are full. In this way we are saving 20% of the waste collection and disposal costs. Three times a day, the system, integrated into the underground containers at Zhenski Pazar Market, sends data, showing how full each container is – something which is usually difficult to check. This ensures cost reduction, decreases harmful emissions and noise for the people, leaving nearby. The software can also be used by the public, and enables people to send signals, in case of a faulty container

We have also built over the initiatives, forming part of Sofia Municipality’s and Sofia Municipal Council’s policy: organizing a Christmas market, lighting-up the Christmas Tree at Zhenski Pazar Market, days of old Bulgarian crafts and support for various charity initiatives.

– You mentioned that a special focus in your work is placed on the socially-responsible activities. What exactly do you mean?

– These activities are not campaign-based and we do not implement them for holidays only. We supported the “Union of the Blind“, we provided the space of the Serdika Gallery, part of “Vazrazhdane Markets“, for the charity exhibition “Help for Goshko“,  which took place under the motto “Children Help Children“. We held the first chess tournament for the “ Zhenski Pazar Market Coup“, organized together with the chess club “ChessBomb” – Plovdiv and the chess portal ChessBomb.com, with the special participation of grandmaster Aleksandar Delchev. Zhenski Pazar Market launched the initiative “Don’t Waste, Donate“ intended to fight hunger and the waste of food. For Palm Sunday we organized for the people of Sofia, a feast with the participation of renowned Bulgarian performers and artists at “Dimitar Petkov“ Market, and together with „Ecoravnovesie“ we carried out the first initiative of the campaign “Find a Friend at Zhenski Pazar Market“, which organized the meeting of good-hearted people with the first four dogs, seeking their home and care. During summer’s hottest days – the days around St. Peter’s Day – June 29, at Zhenski Pazar Market we were giving away water to the visitors of the market – chiefly elderly people and women with young children.

– What social initiatives are to take place by the end of the year?

– Several days ago – on 13 September, we opened a reception-room of the 3rd Police Precinct of the Capital Directorate of Interior at Zhenski Pazar Market. It is something that people living and working in the area has long asked and waited for. In the end of September we will hold a “StrEAT Fest” –  an outdoor exhibition for restaurants, bars, sale of farmers’ produce, jazz music and other pleasant surprises.

We have an arrangement for later this Autumn to have creative teams of young Architecture undergraduates from France and Bulgaria to work in studies at Zhenski Pazar Market. This initiative is the result of an event, which you – “24 Hours“ Daily – and the Capital Municipality organized in June, earlier this year and our meeting with Yves Dauge, president of the Association of French World Heritage properties and founder of the National Association of French Cities and Regions for the Preservation of the Cultural Heritage, Arch. Allain Marinos. These events are related to the Memorandum of Cooperation signed in 2015 between the Mayor of Sofia and the Mayor of Paris’ historic central quarter Le Marais. There are also other initiatives, which we are still discussing.

– “Vazrazhdane Markets“ is the sole municipal commercial company in Sofia with its own Gallery. What is going on at the Gallery?

– Yes, this correct – this is not only something to be proud of, but also a serious responsibility. We continue developing the Gallery as a creative and spiritual space, exhibiting works by renowned Bulgarian artists and providing opportunities for young artists to hold their first exhibitions. We focus also on organizing simultaneous events. In the eve of the greatest Christian feast, within the exhibition “Mount Atos in drawings and photos“ of prof. Miroslav Dachev and the artist Andrey Yanev, together with the “Vazrazhdane“ District, Semiotic and Cultural Studies Centre and the Ethno Pallete Foundation we organized a children’s creative workshop – “My First Icon“, as well as the presentation of the documentary “Holy Martyr Georgy“, based on Prof. Dachev’s book. With the help of father Angel from the „Saints Cyril and Methodius“ we also organized a discussion on woman’s role in Christianity.

This season we are starting with a new concept of work, a new team, new partners and initiatives. We will introduce various topics of the creative seasons –  the September season will be under the moto “Tolerance“, and the next one, starting in February, during Bulgaria’s presidency of Council of the EU, is “European Dimensions“. I am sure that we will properly manage these challenges and will provide numerous creative meetings and moments of inspiration, contributing to the enrichment of Sofia’s cultural programme.   

On 13 September we opened the season with the exhibition “The Immortal Bulgarian Spirit“ – 101 years from the birth of the artist Voin Zaharenov – an artist of a famous old family from Samokov and the free reading-room. At the Gallery everybody can have a rest with a book in their hand. The books in the library are based on donations, and everybody is welcome to leave a book they do no longer need or a new one. 

– What is your evaluation of your work during this year?

– I tend to be over-critical to my own work and to the work of the new team of “Vazrazhdane Markets“, but I also acknowledge what all of us have achieved. I would not like to evaluate our work, I prefer to rely on the evaluation of our clients, partners and guests. It is true that apart from commercial centres, our markets are also becoming an interesting tourist destination, for both foreign tourists and Bulgarians. This is particularly so at Zhenski Pazar Market.

I believe that with our work during our first year, we have proven that we are a socially-responsible company and work actively for both merchants and consumers, and support socially significant causes, beneficial for everybody and making people’s lives better.

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