On a cold overcast day in Lexington, many people might stay home. But in one area of town, outside along the contrast of stark gray clouds, the vibrant colors of vintage and handmade clothing stands out. Attracted by such on a day like this, a large crowd of people gathers to shop around a large building filled with different cultures, foods and fashion represented at each shop stall.
This is the setting of Greyline Station, a marketplace located on West London Avenue. Home to Julietta Market, Grayline Station houses many small business shops in a space of nearly 65,000 square feet according to its website. Situated in the middle of the Bryan Station neighborhood, this shopping center serves as an economic opportunity for several new businesses.
Julietta Market is a nonprofit organization founded by the North Limestone Community Development Corporation, another nonprofit dedicated to developing the Lexington community. The marketplace is named after Julia Etta Lewis, a civil rights activist who lived in Lexington. Lewis was one of the leaders of the Lexington Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and she participated in non-violent demonstrations and sit-ins against segregation.
“We are a business incubator, so we take neighborhood businesses, and we give them a chance to thrive under cheaper rent conditions,” Julietta Market Administrative Assistant
Lorenzo Herra said. “If they are qualifying, we have a program that basically cuts rent in half from normal prices.”
As for what qualifies someone to rent one of the stalls in Julietta for their business, Herrera said they need to be a veteran, a woman-owned business, a resident in the neighborhood or an ethnic minority. “Eighty percent of our business owners are African American the other 20% are mixed, whether that be from middle eastern descent or Hispanic- or Latino-owned,” Herrera said.
Julietta Market is a place that provides business owners, mostly in the ethnic minority, a safe and cheap space to display and sell their goods and services to the public. That is why the atmosphere of the market is so vibrant and always changing, according to Herrera. They also have small pop-up vendor carts that business owners can use to test out their business in the market before they decide to move in.
The market is open to shoppers from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. But, according to Herrera, the market has future plans of staying open six days a week, as they have been receiving heavier foot traffic. “Everything you see here is handcrafted, homemade so in order to be open that much it takes a lot from not just us but our vendors too,” Herrera said of the future six-day schedule.
Julietta opened its doors to the public in 2020 and ever since has seen growing success. “It has a lot of opportunities to offer, especially if you are a small business looking to rise and thrive ... It has offered me a great reward of opportunities. I’ve learned a lot not only about my business but about myself as an individual as well and where I am going to be going with my business,” Ter’Dricka Fresh, owner of Drick’s Treats in Julietta Market, said.
Besides the regular day-to-day shopping activities throughout Julietta, the market also offers different events for the community. They have had events like karaoke, fashion shows, drawings, auctions, salsa lessons and more.