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Jacksonville Melanin Market

Posted by Onassis Krown on
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The Melanin Market boasts that they are Jacksonville's Largest Marketplace for Black-Owned Businesses.ย The Melanin Market's mission is to create a platform that highlights minority-owned businesses, products, and services while providing a setting for fellowship with customers and the community. The Melanin Market features many vendors selling clothing, jewelry, fashion accessories and more!

History of the Melanin Market

The inspiration for theย Melanin Marketย onย Jacksonville's Eastside, which on Saturday begins its sixth yearย promotingย Black businesses, was a similar event that virtually ignored such businesses.

In December 2016 an organization planned a street fair onย A. Philip Randolph Boulevard, the major thoroughfare of the neighborhood, andย sought advice from Dawn Curling, a third-generation Eastside entrepreneur, and other leaders. But the organization, which Curling declined to name, ultimately had the event in an area dominated by parking, not Black businesses.

It did not go over well in the community. "We were very upset. We felt bamboozled," she said.

Jacksonville's African-American Pop-Up Shop Eventย 

So Curling, whose late grandfather was Edward "Cockey" Williams owned several businesses on the A. Philip Randolph Boulevard corridor, gathered 15 to 20ย neighborhood business owners to have their "own little sidewalk market," she said.

That successful venture led to theย first Melanin Marketย โ€”ย Melanin is a dark-brown to black pigmentย responsible for skin coloration โ€” in February 2017. The market wasย on a stretch of A. Philip Randolph Boulevard that is filled with businesses and had about 100 vendors and 800 participants.

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Nowย planned quarterly, the market not only promotesย Black businesses but the Eastside itselfย and has helped promptย new attention to the area. Among the initiatives are an alliance of nonprofits, includingย Historic Eastside CDCย andย LIFT JAX, working toย end povertyย and revitalize the neighborhood.

Pride is building in the neighborhood, despite its longย "bad reputation," and at the market, which at first had little name recognition but isย now a popular attraction, Curlingย said.

"I feel privileged to be here," she said. "I really feel the market is making people come outย โ€ฆ We're trying to bring light into this neighborhood."

Melanin Market Contact Info

This year's Black History Month event will be 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at 822 A. Philip Randolph Blvd.ย betweenย Phelps and Eastย Union streets. In addition to business vendors, there will beย live music, DJ, kids zoneย and food trucks. The noon parade will startย at TIAA Bank Field Lot J and end at the market. For more information, call (904) 701-7555, email info@jaxmelaninmarket.com or go toย jaxmelaninmarket.com.

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