Minority entrepreneurs and women spent time with the Greenville community and showcased their businesses to potential clients in a new monthly market last Thursday.
The Third Thursday Market was launched by Village Launch and will be held in Poe West on the third Thursday of each month this summer. The first market was held last Thursday and featured over a dozen vendors, live music and the Project Host food truck.
Charles Davis, Jr. joined Thursday’s market to raise awareness of his new business, A polite man, and interact with customers.
“The Poe West Market today was a great opportunity for us to step out into the Greenville community and introduce the brand to people,” said Davis.
A Polished Man is a boutique of accessories for men. Davis calls her her “Covid Baby” because the idea was born during a birthday trip to Spartanburg last year.
Davis enjoys shopping for pocket squares every time he visits a city and has thought about creating a space focused on men’s accessories. He hopes to open a physical location in downtown Greenville by the end of this year.
These markets will be fun events, but are also meant to help minority and women entrepreneurs in the region, Rhonda rawlingssaid Mill’s director of neighborhood engagement community ministries.
With such growth in Greenville, Rawlings is hopeful this market will enhance hometown small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Jessica Rose hopes to be part of this Greenville growth soon. She said joining the market would help her attract Greenville customers to her day spa in Spartanburg, Forever Yung Day Spa, when she thinks of expanding her business.
Dan Weidenbenner, executive director of Mill Community Ministries, said these markets target companies with Launch of the village – which is part of Mill Community Ministries and is a business incubator for minorities and women entrepreneurs in West Greenville – as well as businesses with START: ME SPARTANBURG – a small business incubator in the north of Spartanburg.
West Greenville is a historically black community and local small businesses were a great platform for creating wealth and jobs in the area from the community, he said.
Minority women in particular have been the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the country in recent years, and Weidenbenner said it was important for these entrepreneurs to have access to necessary opportunities and resources.
Tamika thompson – Owner of Beyond this February, an online bookstore that prioritizes black authors and black characters – entered the marketplace to connect with the community and other entrepreneurs.
“I was able to not only talk to people, but actually learn a bit more about why people shop with me,” Thompson said.
Thompson – who is looking to open a physical storefront in Spartanburg next year – has learned that book groups and book clubs need orders for certain titles and that these groups prefer to get someone’s opinion rather than to simply choose books online.
Weidenbenner added that interaction with customers and the community is an important aspect of these markets – especially with the difficulty of doing so during the height of the pandemic.
“It’s a really cheap test – a testing ground for entrepreneurs to get feedback from the community,” Weidenbenner said. “To see how their product is doing – are people buying it? Does this solve a problem in the community? “
The markets – a collaboration with Poe West, 98 Ventures, and the Truist Culinary and Hospitality Innovation Center – will run all summer and potentially through fall.
Each third Thursday market could have different sellers, as business owners will register for each individual market. The Marketplace does not charge sellers for space at the Marketplace and sellers can register on the Village launch site.
“We just want to be an encouragement for these small businesses and entrepreneurs,” Rawlings said. “That their services are appreciated and that they can make a difference to their businesses.
The first market on the third Thursday included:
- African Violet, LLC
- Sullivan & Co.
- Artisan Soap for Gifted Hands
- A polite man
- Beyond this February
- 6ix-O Clothing
- Bran’s Craft Body Care
- Make your mark
- The Urban Homesteader, LLC
- Forever Yung Day Spa
- Farms in the village of the mill
- SG media impressions
- Project host
- United Ministries
- Community work
- Village key
- Launch of the village
- Truist Culinary and Hotel Innovation Center
- The property of Reid (Carolina Bauernhaus)