The Soul City Community Market is hosting a holiday-themed bazaar Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to encourage shopping with local small businesses this holiday season.
Vendors will be selling a range of products — including body oils, candles and crafts — and live entertainment will be provided by singer/guitarist Xavier Sumter. Vendors include Just Unwind, Tubby’s Taste, Ms.P’s Gluten Free, Thank God 4 Raw Vegan Treats and Balm Yard.
The bazaar is a way of bringing people to Chicago Avenue to let them know what is to come and to build a stable presence within the community, said Mel Newman, onsite manager for the Soul City Community Market.
The building, a former Salvation Army, was acquired by Morris and Abunaw in 2020 and will become Forty Acres’ full-service grocery store by the end of 2022. In the interim, the space at 5713 W. Chicago Ave. has been made available for local businesses to come in and sell their products via the Soul City Community Market.
“The idea behind it is during the summer months, we usually have farmers markets where all of these different resources are available to the community to come out and support local businesses but also to buy products at a lower cost,” said Jaidalyn Rand, director of public health initiatives at Westside Health Authority.
“So the idea was for us to use this space, because right now it’s just an empty space until renovation begins, to expand outdoor farmers’ markets indoors.”
Beyond the holiday season, small businesses in Austin, a community that has survived years of disinvestment, are in great need of patronage from residents of Austin and beyond.
A stronger economic network can be built when dollars circulate within a community, said Tina Augustus, executive director of the Austin Chamber of Commerce.
“That will require taking out the time to research and see who are the small business owners, minority business owners [in the community] … It’s all about being intentional with how you shop,” Augustus said.
According to the Austin Quality of Life Plan, published in 2018, $159.5 million gets spent outside of Austin by local residents on retail and food.
Dedicated Austin small business owners and community leaders are working to change that.
“Typically, small businesses spend their money locally, so there’s a compounding impact. If you buy from a local shop, they’re also likely buying from local suppliers — local vendors using locally -based business services,” Abunaw said.
“On top of that, sales tax is very real, and a portion of sales tax stays where it’s spent. So purchasing locally also helps fund your local municipality just by something you do every day anyway, your normal consumption patterns.”
Supporting local businesses is also a way to bring community members together through casual interactions.
“Your local businesses are more than just transactional, they’re where you see your neighbors, they’re where you run into your acquaintances, where you run into coworkers. That act of people just pinging off each other creates far more cohesive communities and that all comes with local shopping,” said Abunaw.
The holiday bazaar will be Soul City Community Market’s last event of the year but there will be weekly food-focused markets starting January 8th.
In addition to the vendors that will be present at the bazaar, here is a list of local businesses to consider supporting this holiday season and beyond:
L. May Creations – private event space
Maverick Leather LLC – Handcrafted leather dog accessories
Naimah Thomas – greeting cards, mugs, Afro-centric works
Schweet – homemade Chicago cheesecake