Open-air markets are traditionally associated with the landscape of Polish towns and cities. In the beginning, they were in the very centre of the city – most often in the market around which the lives of the locals and the newcomers concentrated. With the development of urban areas, open-air markets were moved out of the city centre. They were transformed, though for a long time, also after the Second World War, they were the place of trade primarily in agricultural and craft products. During the People’s Republic of Poland, citizens were given the opportunity to buy goods not available in stores. Open-air market places gained a new meaning at the beginning of the socio-political transformation after 1989. They became the places of flourishing small businesses and were less and less associated with the sale of agricultural products and more and more with diverse assortments such as any groceries, clothing, chemicals and cosmetics. At present, in the period of the global economy, which in urban areas is typically expressed through the diminishing of the local economy related to small businesses in favour of the global economy introducing supermarkets, hypermarkets and chain outlets, the functioning of open-air markets takes place in the conditions of increased competition. It consists in particular in price competition and competition in the form of a large assortment of goods in stores mentioned above. As shown in the article, also entrepreneurs conducting business activity at the open-air markets in Kraków feel this competition. It manifests itself in the lack of a sense of stabilisation of small businesses. A large group of the surveyed entrepreneurs are also unable to sustain themselves only from this activity.