Renee Edwards’ Saturday Morning Marketplace will debut this Saturday, April 3, from 10-6 p.m.
BY KARIN DAVIS-THOMPSON, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — Small business owners in the Tampa Bay area will soon have a new place to showcase their products and attract new customers. The Saturday Morning Marketplace will debut this Saturday, April 3, from 10-6 p.m., and will feature dozens of small businesses with a variety of products for sale.
The first event will be held outside on Bethel Community Baptist Church’s grounds, 2901 54th Ave. S, in St. Pete.
Marketplace founder, Renee Edwards, said she plans to bring the event to the community on the first Saturday of every month, allowing small businesses an opportunity to network and grow their customer base.
During the pandemic, many businesses have had to close their doors or scale back. The Saturday Morning Marketplace creates another outlet for small and Black-owned businesses to sell their wares.
“This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said Edwards. “I hope everyone that vends will make a profit and that everyone who attends finds it enjoyable enough to come back in May.”
Edwards, owner of the Skin Kandii, LLC, has secured a sponsorship with Bethel Community Baptist Church to launch the inaugural event. Vendors will have products to sell, ranging from African Art to detox tea.
“Black businesses are not just for Black people; however, I do want to say I’m proud of the people who are going to be here, look forward to more opportunities, and I’m hoping this will spread,” said Rev. Manuel Sykes, senior pastor of Bethel Community.
There will also be family-friendly activities and food trucks galore. Youth vendors are also welcome to begin getting exposure for their businesses. Edwards said she believes it is essential for young people to prepare early if they want to succeed in the business world. At least three youth vendors will have a booth this Saturday.
“It’s important to teach public speaking and how to interact and become an entrepreneur early in life,” Edward stated.
So far, a many as 50 vendors are expected to participate and share their products with the public. Event organizers hope that after a few months, they can expand the marketplace statewide so more small businesses can gain the exposure they need to create a loyal customer base, which Edwards, who owns several companies, knows is essential for business success.
Her business, Skin Kandii, is an all-natural skincare line with everything from natural face scrubs to oatmeal soap that aids in the healing of eczema, a condition that causes patches of skin to become red, itchy and inflamed. After noticing several family members and people in her community struggling with various skin issues, she created the products.
Skin Kandii became the first African American-manufactured product line sold in The St Pete Store, a retail showcase backed by the City of St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
Along with Skin Kandii, Edwards owns Tampa Bay Launderers, a door-to-door laundry service, as well as her newest venture, the outdoor marketplace.
Interested vendors and those who want to get out of the house can find more information on Eventbrite; search Saturday Morning Shoppe. Vendors can purchase a ticket to reserve a spot by following the instructions on the Eventbrite page.
As the marketplace grows, Edwards said sponsorships are always welcome, and anyone interested in becoming a sponsor or for anyone with questions should contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.