HYANNIS — In honor of National Black Business Month, Amplify POC (People of Color), a nonprofit organization, is scheduled to launch its first annual summer vendor market this weekend.
The day-long event is set to begin on Saturday. The event will showcase approximately 30 POC-owned businesses and several Cape non-profits. It is scheduled to be from noon to 5:00 pm at Aselton Park in Hyannis.
In December 2021, the Amplify POC hosted a Holiday Vendor Market. This is the first time it has hosted an annual summer event and it plans to continue for years to come. Amplify POC will launch two major vendor markets each year, once in the summer and once in the winter, during the holiday season, said founder and CEO Tara Vargas Wallace
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“Last year’s holiday market was phenomenal, we had a huge turnout, it was amazing to see the community come out and support small businesses,” she said. “We expect the same from this year’s event.”
More than 400 visitors visited the holiday market, Vargas Wallace said.
The time and location of this year’s vendor market is perfect for both visitors and merchants, said Elizabeth Werfbein, executive director of the Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District.
“August is the best time for summer visitors to the Cape, the location is great and the live music lineup along with the vendors are impressive this year,” she said. “The residents of Hyannis are sure to benefit and greatly enjoy this event.”
What is Amplify POC?
Vargas Wallace founded Amplify POC in 2020 after the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Cape residents were interested in businesses owned by people of color, and she created a space specifically for such businesses. In July 2021, the organization became a non-profit organization.
Vargas Wallace, the Southeast Coordinator of the Massachusetts Coalition of Colored Women, was also a member of the Cape Cod and Islands Commission on the Status of Women. She is a member of the NAACP and has worked for the Hyannis-based Housing Assistance Corp.
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“Our mission is to eradicate the racial wealth gap and provide visibility for black and brown businesses or people of color,” said Vargas Wallace. “The pandemic affected many of these businesses, but many businesses also started their journey during the pandemic. In terms of entrepreneurship, there has been significant growth and innovation, which is truly inspiring for people of color.”
Amplify POC also provides training and workshops for people of color on the Cape, including workshops on business plan writing, grant writing and other resources needed to start a business, Vargas-Wallace said.
“We are currently partnering with the Housing Assistance Corporation on a home ownership workshop; we are also partnering with the Cape and Islands Association of Realtors, although the details of the workshops are yet to be finalised,” she said.
In terms of funding vendor marketplace events, the Amplify POC sometimes struggles to raise the necessary funds.
“We do our best to find as many sponsors as possible, but sometimes we have to use our general operating funds due to not having enough sponsors at these events,” Vargas Wallace said.
What to expect from this year’s Summer Vendor Market?
Summer market vendors will offer everything from clothing to jewelry, pottery, candles to books and hair products.
One vendor creates clothing from custom-made fabrics, another makes African, handmade jewelry. A salesman makes paper dolls out of newspapers, while a fitness professional has his own line of workout gear.
“This year several jewelry stores are coming. There will also be African handmade jewelry, a variety of handwoven baskets, clothing, unique household items; we also have a few book sellers,” Vargas Wallace said.
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Organizers also expect a variety of food vendors at this year’s market. There will be Brazilian food, Jamaican food, ice cream and a beer and wine tent. Food trucks will also serve American food.
The market will feature live music featuring the band Dis N Dat and DJ Peter Barboza.
“The event is also to enjoy a day of community,” Vargas Wallace said. “We’ll have face painting and arts and crafts for the kids, we have family games and a photo booth.”
Suppliers and sponsors
Some of the planned vendors are: MiniMe Clothing Boutique, Adrene Jewelers, Bodi By Mari, Little Boutique, Belonging Books, J. Alexis Designs, Butu International, B free Wellness Inc., Scarlet Clothing, Medusa’s Tea Room, Cutco, Positive Vibes Clothing, The Periwinkle Goddess and KeniKay Collections and more.
This year’s Vendor Market is sponsored by Housing Assistance Corp., Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod, Cape Cod Five Bank, Knack Cape Cod and Fisherman’s Daughter.