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When an inspring young man opens a successful cafe, what does he put in the back yard? A community market!

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - Hector Mejia Zamora, at left, takes a break from a busy Sunday morning as barista at his Gladstone Street café to be photographed with community market founder Carrie Cantrell, at right in white, and a few market vendors.We have previously profiled the Creston-Kenilworth coffee shop "Café Zamora", at 3713 S.E. Gladstone Street, and told the success story of its proprietor, Hector Mejia Zamora.

Now it develops that, since the café has a large backyard, Zamora has opened it to a nonprofit called "Living Well Community Market". We visited to find out more, and came across Chloe Smith, a Foster-Powell resident, strolling the sidewalk nearby with her three-year old nephew, Benny. She explained that her sister, Phoebe Valenti, had a table at the lmarket, displaying screen-print products –T-shirts, tote bags, and COVID-19 masks – which she and her husband created for their own Creston-Kenilworth based business, "Indelible Ink". "We are primarily a business-to-business printer," she told us; "But this market is a great place to sell to the community."

Nine-year old Noni, whose mother Bonnie sat at a table offering handcrafted jewelry, was providing vendors and customers with disposable plastic gloves to keep their hands warm as they sat or browsed on that crisp 45-degree morning. "These gloves are from the Dollar Tree Store – one hundred gloves in a packet!" she explained with a broad smile. "If you put them on and rub your hands together, they really keep you warm."

Hector Zamora, the 28-year-old owner of the café, was inside serving coffee to a stream of customers, while outside at the market information table was Carrie Cantrell, nutrition coach for her own business "Living Well" – and also the founder of the new outdoor market. "Hector has had this idea for quite a while, even before my first market in August," said Cantrell. "It was just luck that we both happened to be on the same page."

Cantrell is interested in providing a neighborhood market outlet for small, local producers of vegetables, fruit, flowers, and crafts. After the successful launch of the market last August and another on Hallowe'en, Cantrell and Mejia Zamora recognized their shared interest – they both want to give neighborhood micro-businesses more visibility. So now, the café's large backyard doubles as a community market every other Sunday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

"Thanks to Hector for this community space to stimulate our local economy directly – person-to-person," exclaimed Cantrell. "People are putting a lot of effort and expression into their crafts [and produce]! Our goal is to help our neighborhood thrive.

"Any micro-grower of quality produce is welcome [to sell] here. Neighborhood gardeners do not have to sign-up in order to utilize our market community-table. Everyone [who grows produce] has extra greens, squash, etc., at some point in the season.

"Larger, established farms and other vendors [of crafts] are scheduled and curated to try not to overlap industries [or products]. Vendors will rotate in the future."

After those successful market events late last year, Cantrell went ahead and certified "Living Well Community Markets" with the Oregon Farmers Market Association, and filed articles of organization as an LLC with the State of Oregon. "Keeping a level of accountability is important," says Cantrell. "It shows people that we're serious about our business model."

As for craft vendors and established farms, they are asked to sign up two weeks in advance of the particular Sunday on which they want to sell; but the vendor spaces are free. "We want to empower and motivate people to have no fear to 'try'. We want to provide a platform for entrepreneurship", confirms Zamora, the owner of the space.

To sign up to sell at the community market, or for more information about it, e-mail Carrie Cantrell – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – or follow the Instagram page at @LivingWellMarket.


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