A new farmer’s market has made its way to Richmond Heights.
The Black Market MIA will take place once a month in an outdoor space, at the corner of Lincoln Blvd and Dunbar Drive in south Miami-Dade County.
Various food and craft vendors, along with a DJ, will be featured at each market “for all to enjoy,” according to the organizers. Social distancing and masks will be enforced.
The first two markets, held on Oct. 31 and Nov. 28, were both very successful, said CEO Sydra Withers. Over 20 vendors participated, and dozens of people trickled in throughout the day. The next scheduled date is Dec. 19, and the hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Hosted by The Hue Collective, a non-profit made up of three Miami natives, the market’s aim is to highlight local Black-owned businesses and “bring some life” back to the Richmond Heights area. This is the group’s first event, but they do plan to continue expanding in the future.
“I enjoy helping others and doing things for the community. That’s pretty much how the collective started,” said Withers.
Withers grew up in the unincorporated neighborhood, and was always looking for ways to help out in the area. She developed the idea for the collective while working from home during the coronavirus lockdown.
“The Hue Collective’s mission is to bring multifaceted individuals together to collaborate and create these really critical experiences for communities of color, specifically in south Miami Dade, because we don’t have anything like that down here,” Withers said.
After pitching the idea to her friends and loved ones, two of them decided to join in. Her partners, Jasmine Anderson and Frederick Porter, are in charge of event coordination and community outreach.
Anderson, who attended Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, said she felt her experience – she started a small business in college – could help make The Hue Collective a success.
“When I came back home [from college] I realized there was just something missing in this neighborhood, especially for us,” she said. “I wanted to help revitalize and bring that culture back to my hometown.”
Vendors must have their businesses registered with the state to participate. This has prompted several local entrepreneurs to legitimize their businesses, said Withers.
The businesses are becoming well known and their goods sought-after.
AJ’s SinnaBuns, a husband and wife duo that sells a variety of homemade cinnamon buns, saw a jump in popularity after taking part in the first market.
“I kind of put off the idea of doing a pop-up or a market. When we finally did, it blew up from there,” said Aaron Jean Pierre.
After gaining new followers on social media and receiving an increase in orders, the duo decided to participate in other farmer’s markets as well.
“The business is just growing,” Jean Pierre said. “Cooking is a passion of mine, and I’ve worked on these recipes for the past three years, so for it to finally come together is something I’m really happy about.
Another entrepreneur who’s happy with the turnout of the market is Victoria Cardona, owner of Cardona’s Kitchen food truck.
“We were here at the first market and it was a great success. I definitely wanted to come back, support and be a part of this wonderful culture,” she said.
Cardona used to be the kitchen manager of a restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, her restaurant was shut down.
“I had to come up with a Plan B quick,” she said.
She moved back home to South Florida and started selling plates of food. Eventually, this turned into a full-blown business, and she decided to commit.
“When I finally got the call go back to my old job, I said nope. I’m gonna stay down here and open up a business,” she said. “It has been the best decision I have ever made.”
The Hue Collective has many plans for the future.
Gentrification is an issue the group hopes to address by way of financial and homeownership workshops. The group also hopes to host entrepreneurship workshops.
“We’re just getting started. We want to grow and keep moving forward,” Anderson said.
For more information, visit The Hue Collective’s website, thehuecollectivemia.org.