Small, minority-owned businesses get exposure at new St. Pete marketplace

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — A new event is providing opportunities for women and minority-owned businesses in Tampa Bay.

Renee Edwards started Saturday Morning Shoppe last month as a way to give minority-owned businesses more exposure.

“It’s very important that people here have a place to display what they sell because they won’t get the opportunity any other place in St. Petersburg,” Edwards said.

There were 64 vendors at the marketplace in April. On Saturday, nearly 100 came out to the marketplace set up at Bethel Community Baptist Church.

Patricka England is the owner of Shady P Shades & More. Because of the pandemic, she’s found it challenging to get her product out into the community, so she’s grateful for Edwards’ event.

“I think it’ll give us an opportunity to expand our brand,” England said.

Edwards is also giving young people, like 10-year-old Zuri Jenkins, the opportunity to showcase their business.

“Ever since I was five I wanted to be a fashion designer so over here I’m selling clothes,” Jenkins said. “There’s a lot of small businesses that don’t get recognition, so I’m glad all of these people get their businesses out there.”

“We have to make sure our community has future leaders,” Co-founder Lewis Stephens said. “We are able to employ young people, that means pulling them off the streets, give them jobs and seeing the next future business leaders.”

Edwards believes this idea will help generate economic development on the southside of St. Petersburg.

“With the community coming out supporting and everyone making money, I think they’ll continue to grow and expand, and who know some of these cupcakes my end up in Walmart, ort clothes in Macy’s,” Edwards said.

Saturday Morning Shoppe will take place every first Saturday. More information is available on EventBrite.com.

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