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Pop-up ‘Diversity Markets’ highlighting businesses in south Iowa City

Updated: Jun. 13, 2021 at 8:54 AM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) -A summer long pop-up market in Iowa City is highlighting business owners in the city’s south district.

The first Diversity Market was held Saturday at the Kingdom Center, and featured around 30 new, minority-owned businesses, all based in the south district of Iowa City.

Evelyn Quezada launched Choco Fresa late last year, serving up sweet treats with help from her kids. She said she was shocked and excited to see so many other entrepreneurs and artists from her neighborhood.

“It’s really nice to network as well and know that there are people around and you can always go for whatever help you need,” Quezada said.

The majority of vendors are women from historically under-served populations who are working to grow their business opportunities in Iowa City.

Tasha Lard, the owner of JD Beauty Supply, is one of the organizers of the event. A major goal of the event producers for the Diversity Market is to bring together and elevate Black, indigenous, people of color and women entrepreneurs, artisans, and others looking for a spot to shine and sell their products and services.

Other goals include providing a neighborhood-scale opportunity for south district residents to eat and shop in the neighborhood while attracting other Iowa City area residents to enjoy this up-and-coming side of town.

”It’s important because it’s a first. And its never happened in the South District before,” Lard said. “Again, it’s happened downtown, but we wanted to be able to do something in our own neighborhood, in our own neck of the woods, and it’s big! It’s popular.”

The new pilot pop up market is intended to feature fresh, homemade food from vendors such as Royceann’s Soul Food and Mama’s Chicken and Fish. The market also elevates services such as Verness Wright owner of Tax Wright and Hannah Born Photography. Additionally, the market showcases local products from emerging businesses like Nikki-Boo Kids, Art by Teagan, Artesanía de Colores, and others.

The community is invited to come eat, shop, and bring the kids to enjoy family friendly-activities. The market will will pop up at 611 Southgate Ave outside the Kingdom Center every Saturday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., starting June 12 and continuing through July 10 this summer.

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