COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Coming to a neighborhood near you, a Latine marketplace that goes beyond just selling goods.
“It’s very important to know where you come from and to get your culture, especially for our kids. The next generation,” says Annette Vasquez, founder of El Mercadito.
Vazquez is a woman on a mission. A mission to bring more of her Latine heritage and culture to Central Ohio.
“When I used to go to Mexico, we used to go to La Plaza or El Mercadito,” says Vasquez. “When you go, it’s full of color. Full of life. Full of music. Everyone there are just small entrepreneurs doing their own thing and just with a smile on your face. I wanted to bring some of that, which is the main thing of El Mercadito…making it feel like home.”
So Vazquez went to work creating El Mercadito, which is Spanish for “Little Market”. And she’s taking it all over the city of Columbus.
“I like to speak Spanish. I like to play my reggaeton and my cumbia and what not. And have my kids there with me because I need to make sure my kids know what it’s like. What I’m working for. What I do at my job. And so when I came up with this idea, I said, you know what, I’m going to do my own market,” said Vazquez.
Along with her flower shop, “Flower Day-Ze”, Hispanic vendors are now able to showcase their small businesses in a comfortable setting. But more importantly, it provides a place for people of all backgrounds to gather and immerse themselves into the vibrant Latine culture.
“That’s what I want the Mercaditos to be like. I want people to come shop. But not just come and shop to just shop. I want them to learn about the culture. I want them to feel at home and welcomed and just be inclusive into us,” said Vasquez.
The next Mercadito is October 23 in German Village in the parking lot of Stewart Elementary School from noon to 6. And just like the Mercadito this past Sunday, they will be accepting clothing donations for One Divine Line to Health, a non-profit organization that helps survivors of sex trafficking. For more information on the Mercaditos and how you can become a vendor, click here.