Edmonton's first ever Black-owned market celebrates its first ever birthday
By Tom Ndekezi | July 22, 2021
The last 12 months have been big for Edmonton’s Black-Owned Market, and not just because it was the popup market’s first year in existence. In the year since the Black-Owned Market — also known as BOM YEG for short — first brought together 18 vendors and over 1,000 market goers to the parking lot of Habesha African Market, the popup has expanded to include a holiday e-market, specially curated novelty boxes, a business bursary program for Black-owned businesses and a slew of community partnerships aimed at activating Edmonton’s BIPOC business community.
But despite the growth of the past year, the popup market is still the centrepiece of the volunteer-run initiative’s ever-growing mandate.
“I think at the core, BOM YEG will always be a physical market, whether that happens once a year or we’re able to grow that,” says Rochelle Ignacio, BOM YEG operations business officer.
This weekend, BOM YEG will celebrate its second ever physical market, one year to the day of the first popup event at Habesha African Market. The one-year anniversary market will be moving a few blocks northeast to a larger space at Victoria School of the Arts, and is being hosted in partnership with the Africa Centre, Habesha African Market and Edmonton Community Foundation.
In addition to the change in location, visitors to this year’s popup can expect a number of new faces amongst the market’s 25 featured vendors, as well as the return of some familiar BOM YEG favourites.
“You’re going to see some of the vendors we had [last year], like we have Mello Hair coming back and Oonsie Boutique, but then you’re going to see some new vendors as well,” Ignacio says. “Buff Experts is going to be vending, and then we have some emerging brands, such as Lavender Crave.”
“But most of all,” she adds, “we have food.”
“Our biggest complaint was that there was no food at BOM One, and now we have a food truck coming, a food caterer coming, a Nigerian snack [company] and then one of our BIPOC features is Intent Coffee — they’re a queer Filipinx coffee shop — and so they will be vending as well. So we have all the food and then we are going to have some snacks and stuff out of the BOM tent and [non-alcoholic] drinks as well.”
Market goers can also look forward to BOM YEG-branded tote bags, a summer playlist courtesy of resident DJ Juice, photo booths, art installations and brand new product unveilings. Ignacio wants to create a fun afternoon to showcase Black and BIPOC enterprise, and when asked about who she hopes to see come out to the market, her answer is simple.
“I want people that want to uplift these different communities,” Ignacio says. “I want to ensure that everyone who comes out is respectful of what our mission is within BOM YEG, [but] it doesn’t matter what walk of life you’re from if you are there to just have a good time.
“So people can still participate even if they’re not able to actually buy stuff.”
The Black-Owned Market One-Year Anniversary Market will be on Saturday, July 24 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the southeast parking lot of Victoria School of the Arts. Attendance is free, but you will have to RSVP – register on BOM YEG’s website.