Monday, December 13, 2021

The Bright Spot


Yesterday was an unusually temperate December day. Sunny, clear skies, not too cold. I hopped in the car and headed to the Holiday Bazaar at The Third.

Outside the event I purchased some raffle tickets in hopes of winning a stylish and amply-sized tote bag emblazoned with The Third’s logo. Whoever wins will also receive sample items from all the businesses who participated in the bazaar. 

The vendors were set up inside the space that some of us remember as Comptoir, the café side of Petit Louis. Shoppers could make their way around the perimeter and talk to business owners and learn about the products they were selling. There was a whole lot of that going on while I was there as a steady stream of interested folks kept arriving.

I found myself attracted to the selection offered by Yolo Health and Wellness. I picked out a grapefruit granite spray and a lemon room spritz. I rarely buy anything with fragrance because of my asthma but, since I was able to test these out for myself, I could tell how light (not overpowering) and natural the scents were. From the Yolo website:

I am so happy to introduce the first of my plant-based products that are not only better for your home, your yoga mat, and exercise equipment, but better for your health and the environment. The creation of my plant-based products happened organically. During the global pandemic, so many of us had trouble finding cleaning products, liquid soap and other important essentials to stay safe during the pandemic. I became so frustrated driving across the county where I live, looking for cleaning products and other essentials.

​A light bulb went off and I was off and running! I enrolled in online classes at Formula Botanica and Coursera! I learned how to formulate plant-based products with essential oils. I have created some amazing plant-based cleaning products for my home that smell amazing and they are very effective.

Theres a lot more to Rechá, the founder of Yolo, than her plant-based product line. Take a look at her website.

Businesses, all owned by women of color, who participated* in the Bazaar include:

@charleemaechristmas: Christmas Holiday Decor -- wreaths, centerpiece, and holiday decor items

@ShimmySista: A boutique specializing in unique gift items, jewelry, handbags, clothing, and accessories for curvy women.

@thamdsoapqueen: Sugar scrubs, gift sets, hair nutrition, soy candles & wax melts, and aromatherapy

@esteemmatters: Professional Skin Care Products -- Cleansers, Toners, Moisturizers, Eye Creams, Hyaluronic acid, Lip Hydrator, and Lip Balms.

@PuertoRicoDistillery: Puerto Rican moonshine style rum -- Flavors: Classic, Traditional, Coconut, Pineapple, Coconut Chai, Tamarind, Coffee, Honey Mango

@yolohealthwellness: YOLO Health and Wellness, LLC makes plant-based cleaning products, wellness products, and skincare products

As I left I noticed a table outside providing free gift wrap. Now that’s a smart idea. I certainly would have taken advantage of it if I hadn’t shopped only for myself. Oops.

I saw The 3rd’s founder and CEO Laura Bacon chatting with people as they arrived. I met Ms. Bacon earlier this year via Zoom when my friend and former neighbor Sonya reached out to me and suggested that what was going to be happening at The Third was just the kind of story I’d be interested in. She was right. Ms. Bacon was kind enough to take a few moments yesterday to speak with me and I look forward to writing more about The Third as it moves forward.

Over the years I’ve written about my frustration or simply puzzlement with the Lakefront space. Of course, that was long before the closure of The Tomato Palace, Clyde’s, and the Soundry. Right now The 3rd is a bright spot in a community space that desperately needs a wise and imaginative advocate for renewal.

Let me rephrase that. The 3rd is THE bright spot at the Columbia Lakefront. 

First and foremost, The 3rd is intended to serve as an incubator space for businesses owned by women of color. But it seems to me that supporting ongoing initiatives at The 3rd will also be a way we can show strong support for a Lakefront that is alive with people and businesses and things to do. 

What can we do? It’s pretty simple. We can show up when they have an event. We can tell friends, family, and coworkers what The 3rd is all about. We can commit to spending money to support these Black-owned businesses. 

The 3rd presents us with an opportunity to rethink which businesses we support, how we spend our money, when we’re willing to show up and be a part of things, how we use spaces like the Lakefront. Maybe even who we are as a community.

Yes, I had fun yesterday. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more events at The Third.

*May be an incomplete list. I will follow up on this.

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