East Texas vendors gathered in downtown Tyler Saturday for a winter pop-up market.
Event organizer Christy McDonald said they had a successful holiday fair and “all the vendors wanted to come back” so they launched a winter pop-up fair that runs until March.
“People are trying to restart their business and are looking for things to do again,” McDonald said, adding that there were a large number of both sellers and buyers at Saturday’s show.
The merchants were stationed around the square in the center of the city, and each one was different from the other. The Snackney Freeze Fried Goods brand, owned and operated by Adam and Brandi Prince, was among the many different items on display.
“This is our second exhibition, we are new to freeze drying. We do it at home and try to stock up on groceries,” Prince said.
Freeze drying is a process that removes the water content of foodstuffs. Brandi and her husband purchased a car from Harvest Right.
“The machine freezes them (candy) at such a low temperature, and then vacuum. Then it heats up and moisture comes out of it, which is why they get so big,” Prince explained.
There were different options on the market for buyers. Nadia Long proudly displayed her “Cora Made by Nadia” jewelry as one of the vendor’s booths. Other vendors also explained their passion for their products.
“I’ve been baking pastries since I was a kid,” said Tameshya Williams of Tameshi’s Tasty Treats. “I just love baking all kinds of things, experimenting and trying different things. I started in October 2022 and held my first event in December and was thrilled with it.”
Williams also had commissions when people asked her to make things for them for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Her business can be found and tracked on Facebook under “Tamesha’s Delicious Treats – New Page”.
Despite some rain interrupting live music, the market continued to grow. While visitors were stopping at various stalls, they were also able to grab a few coffee samples from Bruno’s Café.
Cafe Bruno was founded by Natalia Vanezuela, Victor Jaimes II and Rocío Blanco of Tyler.
“It’s quite difficult to actually bring Colombian culture to the US because you don’t really hear about it,” Jaimez said. “The only thing you hear about in Colombia is everything negative, but there are so many beautiful things in Colombia. It’s such a vibrant and fun culture.”
Named after the character Bruno from the 2021 Disney film Encanto, Bruno’s Cafe serves imported Colombian coffee and chocolate.
“The coffee is hand-grown and 100% natural,” said Hymez. “The reason it’s so good is because because it’s for the Colombian market, they have the freshest beans and the freshest coffee.”
“People create their own recipes,” Rocio Blanco said. “They ask us if we can mix your chocolate with coffee and we say of course! We make coffee the way they like it.”
Natalia Vanezuela is an exchange student from Colombia. She stays with Blanco and Jaimes during classes at UT Tyler. She is excited to bring her culture to East Texas.
“I love it because they know my culture and they love coffee,” she said.
Winter pop-up markets are scheduled for February and March, and are likely to take place on the third weekend of each month, according to McDonald’s.