While thousands ate, drank, shopped and watched performers at the first of two Beaverton Night Markets this year, vendors also were busy.
For many of the 50-plus vendors at the July 20 event, they were out not just to sell food and goods at a community festival, but also to raise awareness of their products and develop the skills to run small businesses — either from home, or with luck, their own retail space.
Alexis Ball, the city's manager for equity and inclusion, says one of the longterm goals of the market is to spur diverse entrepreneurs in the community.
Below are stories of two of the vendors. If you missed them or others, there's a second Night Market from 5 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17. All the vendors will return, though the entertainment lineup on two stages will be different.
Ropa Mexicana Monita
What jumps out from the booth run by Melina Monita are the colorful embroidered fabrics, mostly made in Mexico.
Monita said they are fashioned by a women's artisan cooperative based in Puebla, southeast of Mexico City, Mexico's fourth largest city and second largest during the Spanish colonial era.
"We always try to bring things (for sale) directly from Mexico to help them out," Monita said. "We want to bring a bit of Mexican culture to people here and educate them about embroidering different types of clothing worn in different regions of Mexico."
But other women's clothing is fashioned here. Monita showed off a girl's dress sewn by her mother from cambaya fabric, which is used by artisans in Mexico and Central America.
It is the third year she has taken part in Beaverton Night Market. She also has participated at the Cinco de Mayo celebration in Portland and the Latino Cultural Festival in Hillsboro.
"I like that this is in the evening. You don't have to get up so early," she said with a laugh.
Business contact: Facebook.com/ropamexicanamonita, or (517) 410-5307.
Imeme's Homey Bites
Imeme Barkat learned the secrets of baking from her mother, who had a bakery in Constantine, Algeria, known as the city of bridges — a nickname also given to Portland.
She likes to describe her products having "an Algerian touch."
"I really like to bake and share my sweets in the United States," she said. "I have found that many sweets here have so much sugar — they make sweets with so much sugar — that it hides the real taste of other ingredients."
She uses honey, plus flavorings such as orange blossom water and rose water.
Many of her Mediterranean pastries are variations on baklava — with almonds, pistachios or walnuts — but she also has kataif, a miniature pancake, and semolina cakes. The July 20 night market was only half over when she sold out of everything except the semolina cakes.
Baklava and other Mediterranean pastries call for phyllo (or filo) dough, which come in thin unleavened sheets that are brushed with butter or oil, then baked. Barkat says working phyllo dough, also used in Asian spring rolls, requires special skill.
This year is her first at Beaverton Night Market. She also has participated in the Portland Night Market (quarterly) and Snack Fest, Portland International Muslim Cultural Festival, and the Ramadan Arts and Crafts Festival sponsored by the Muslim Educational Trust.
Beaverton Night Market, she said, offers a different opportunity.
"I learned many things from the organizers, who helped me answer some important questions about building my business," she said. "They are helping me grow it, and in the future, I would like to deliver (products) to stores. It is my vision to grow starting from a small business with a good product."
Business contact: Facebook.com/ImemesHomeyBites, or (971) 217-6716.
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)