NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Nashville native has gone from going to the Nashville Farmers’ Market with his great grandmother as a child to co-founding a recurring event there that supports dozens of local black vendors.
“As a kid, I grew up going there every weekend with my great grandmother, and, you know, just to see the person selling socks, or the airbrush artist,” recalled Carlos Partee. “At the time I didn’t know they were entrepreneurs but as I got older, I started to realize that these were people feeding their family with their skills and they’re the jobs that they acquired over the years and it just makes me feel amazing to know that I’m a part of the impact.”
Partee is co-founder of Nashville Black Market which is setting up shop at the Nashville Farmers’ Market every first Friday of the month starting tonight (March 4). The free event will showcase more than 60 local Black vendors and is open to the public.
“It started last year in October. That was the first one we got to do before the weather, you know, got really yucky,” said Partee. “But the Nashville Black Market started in 2018 with me and my business partner, Javvon Jones. What we were doing was looking for a brick-and-mortar space for both our businesses. We’re both entrepreneurs. We couldn’t find anything because Nashville rent was sky high.”
That’s when he said they came up with this idea of starting a pop-up shop, which sparked the idea for Nashville Black Market.
“We hosted 15 businesses, including food trucks, and we had over 1,000 people show up on that one day to support all those businesses,” said Partee. “So from 2018, we’ve grown so much more. You know, we’ve been trying to scale the business a lot better. And here we are now, a residency with the Nashville Farmers’ Market.”
The event runs from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and will have beauty products, airbrush artists, and clothes along with food trucks, raffles, and a DJ.
“We describe it as a block party meets outdoor mall meets family reunion — it’s really so hard to describe,” he said. “You have to come there and you have to engage with people. You have to see it for yourself. It feels really great to be involved with so many different organizations and businesses and feels so overwhelmed with joy.”
Partee said they hosted three large-scaled markets last year that grossed more than $150,000. They’re also launching a website to help vendors as well.