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‘She[EMPOWERS]’ market to continue through the summer at East Village Junction

The colourful shipping containers are located in East Village Junction downtown Calgary.
The colourful shipping containers are located in East Village Junction downtown Calgary. Jameela Ghann

This summer the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) will host their second annual pop-up retail park at East Village Junction from May 18 to September 3.

And this year, a new marketplace will be there for the entire season showcasing the creations of a few specific vendors.

Last year the market attracted 50,000 visitors during the season, a trend that organizers hope will continue at the one-of-a-kind community event.

The market includes 12 colourful shipping containers for vendors to temporarily set up shop three days a week.

One container will be home to the She[EMPOWERS] marketplace and will host seven local, female-owned businesses.
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READ MORE: Pop-up retail park coming to the East Village in June

She[EMPOWERS] describes itself as a Calgary initiative aimed at empowering women through financial independence. It’s also a place where female entrepreneurs can be surrounded by like-minded individuals, according to Jameela Ghann owner of Alora Boutique.

Alora Boutique was a vendor at East Village Junction last year. She said that one shipping container had enough room for more than one company.

“It was really successful and we met a lot of customers so we wanted to share because there are a lot of people who did want to come to the container but didn’t really know how,” Ghann said. “We thought it was a way to really help other women grow their own businesses and gain new partners.

“I think cooperation is the best path forward instead of just competition because there’s enough room for all of us in the market.”

This year she will be joined by Good + Wild, Jaybee Design, Lune Obvallata, Tiffany Lynne Cuffley, Stresscase and Poop Heart.

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She[EMPOWERS] will not only have merchandise for sale but also plans on hosting female-centred workshops and speakers throughout the summer that will aim to provide customers with ways to improve everyday life.

“It’s not like they’re selling you anything but it’s really a place where we can share information so that everyone’s life can be helped and be a little bit better and enriched,” Ghann said.

Jessa Morrison, the senior manager of brand marketing for CMLC, said there are some returning vendors, like Alora Boutique, but said many businesses found success after the East Village pop-up market, meaning they won’t be back.

“Our greatest success stories were able to start their business here as small local businesses and have moved on from our park and have opened brick and mortar shops or enhanced their online presence and are so busy with their other kind of ventures that they’re unable to come back this year,” Morrison said.

READ MORE: Shopping local helping small Calgary businesses through difficult economy

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Ghann hopes to see the same with the She[EMPOWERS] market. There are no plans to set up a permanent shop, but Ghann hopes to continue workshops and the female-centred community in the years to come.

“This is a movement that I think is going to continue on for at least another five years or a decade,” said Ghann.