Local small businesses joined together to show off their products and celebrate Juneteenth on Friday afternoon at Rock Quarry Park in south Columbia.
Showcase host Florence Sanders put together the list of vendors with a desire to help small business owners in the area.
“This showcase is for all small businesses,” she said.
The event ran Friday and Saturday.
Sanders owns and operates Extravagantly Lit, a scented candle, soap and wax melt business. She has attended many showcases in two years since starting her business and had been looking for the opportunity to host a showcase of her own, she said.
“Setting this up was hard work,” Sanders said. “You have to work to get together vendors and earn their trust.”
Juneteenth, celebrated June 19, was marked as a federal holiday last year, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Although the holiday, also known as Emancipation Day, has been celebrated across the country since 1865, Texas was the first state to recognize it as a holiday in 1980.
“It’s fantastic that Juneteenth is finally being recognized nationally,” vendor Jessica Iuchs said. “Every year, July 4 is celebrated as recognizing freedoms, but Juneteenth represents the same thing and is just as important.”
Iuch’s business, Mama’s Pretty Nails, sells Color Street, which features nail polish strips for easy application among other nail tools and products.
After seeing an advertisement in a vendors’ Facebook group posted by Sanders, Iuchs reached out to her to add her business to the list of showcased businesses.
Cakez Customs was one of about 10 vendors at Friday’s showcase. Owner Angel Weir started her business shortly after the birth of her daughter, who was born with special needs, making it difficult for Weir to hold a traditional job.
At the showcase, she was primarily selling jewelry and flavored popcorn. However, she also specializes in hair, nails, custom shoes and clothing.
“You name it; I make it,” she said.
Family friends helped her set up her booth with bracelets, necklaces and other body jewelry. In addition to the jewelry and popcorn, the group sold lemonade as well to help combat the heat.
Some of the vendors, including Sanders, set up shop inside of the building at the park. Both Iuchs and Weir were set up outside with lots of water and fans to keep cool.
Lauren Tronstad covers local government and politics for the Tribune. Contact her at LTronstad@gannett.com or on Twitter @LaurenTronstad.