When Bianca Brown’s daughter was small, she suffered from eczema, so Brown tried homemade ointments and creams until she came up with a unique formulation of African shea butter, cocoa butter, and various essential oils. No chemicals are allowed. Liked by friends and family, she started selling it as Bee’s Body Butter, along with Bee’s Buzziing Balm for Lips, at Night Market, a pre-monthly market hosted by NoLiCDC.
She has been in the Julietta market since last fall. Gray line stationLexington’s former bus garage, on the corner of Limestone and Loudon, has been transformed into a huge commercial space by developer Chadney Dam.
Brown has a full-time job, but the market allows him to work on Saturdays and Sundays in small food stalls where he is completely devoted to his products.
“It’s really working,” she said. “It works perfectly for me.”
Slynoel has a large food stall on one end of the market covered with bottles and vials. He moved here from New Jersey but couldn’t find his favorite essential oils like Egyptian musk. So he got some wholesale information and started selling oil to his friends. And “Let’s see what happens.”
“People continued to demand natural oils,” he said. “I saw the need,” and that gave birth to Sly’s Nubian Essentials.
Lexington’s latest shopping hub, Julia Etta Market, is named after Lexington’s civil rights activist Julia Etta Luis. Its birth occurs in a pandemic uncertain moment, a new era of civil rights activity, and the controversial gentrification of Lexington’s North Side. The night market quickly became a millennial paradise and was sometimes criticized for its lack of diversity among vendors.
The Gray Line Station attracts many of the same customers with its tenant outer ring facing limestone and loudon, curated houseplants, vegan cocktails, used clothing, coffee drinks and other youth, urban, upscale, mostly There are shops full of attractions for white people.
However, the Giulietta market has a rare collection of start-ups, mostly owned by minorities. This is the Roots and Heritage Festival, a market for diversity found only once a year in Lexington. In cities where gentrification primarily created space for whites in the traditional black district of Northern Lexington, the market is also trying to create space for people of color as entrepreneurs and customers.
“You might think that the only people who haven’t been here are hipsters, but the patrons here are more diverse than they’ve seen elsewhere, such as at Fayette Mall. There is, “said Andrea James, a former city council member who works for cash. Register at the barber shop stall of her husband Rodney. “More than 70% of vendors are of color and I’ve never seen this kind of business accelerator where people can start storefronts that could lead to physical stores.”
Sitting in a chair at Rodney James’s hairdresser last Sunday was former British professional basketball player Ramel Bradley, who returned to Lexington to work at App Harvest.
“Lexington isn’t usually a place of great diversity,” he added. “I love this whole transformation.”
The minority community has been locked out of Lexington’s business world, said Ashley Smith, founder of Blacksoil, a non-profit organization that aims to reconnect Black Kentucky citizens to agricultural heritage. Blacksoil operates a mini farmer’s market at Giulietta Market, featuring food from black farmers around Kentucky.
“It’s very complicated because we don’t have enough infrastructure that is important to people of color,” Smith said. “So I tell all the opponents and critics. If you haven’t seen any direct support for these businesses in the Giulietta market, then at Lexington-Fayet for women and minority-owned businesses. Do you suggest what we do? “
Leannia Haywood, director of SME development and mentoring at NoLiCDC, says businesses are still open, including food-based businesses.
“We listened to the community and heard their complaints. We wanted to provide better service where they were to meet the needs of their disadvantages,” Haywood said. Told. “This is a community-led project and it’s for people by people. You can’t do this without them.”
Much funding is still needed for the NoLi CDC and Needham to maintain low rents high enough to attract these small businesses. Haywood looks forward to the day when the Giulietta market will be financially self-sufficient as successful companies enter the market. Own brick and mortar facilities and new ones will move in.
Tinia Taylor opened a delicious Tinia treat in December with a selection of candy apples, which barely covers the multi-color, multi-flavor mix displayed on the counter. Currently she is considering adding a mini funnel cake car.
“There wasn’t much people doing on this side of the town,” she said. It works for women, but it’s for everyone because everyone likes to shop and everyone likes to eat. “
And, as Slainoel pointed out, it’s good for people to come into contact with a wider range of products. “At the mall, you can’t really learn about different cultures,” he said. “This place helps us to become a more diverse community.”
This is one of the hopes of the project, Haywood said: I want to believe that Giulietta Market will be the heartbeat of Lexington. We want to infect diversity. “