Two Trenton restaurants opened their doors to vendors last Saturday, welcoming customers to Christmas pop-up shops.
Sakeenah Blakely, owner of Food Bar and Grill held her first pop-up shop last December. “(We started this) in the middle of the pandemic last year, when a lot of stores were closed down.”
Inspired by the at-home business her sister was setting up after losing her job during the pandemic, she decided to try and help New Jersey businesses. “(I thought), you know what, the restaurant is slow, so maybe we can help build up other entrepreneurs,” Blakely said.
Trenton Social along with Food Bar and Grill hosted Trenton entrepreneurs over the weekend to sell their items to the public. Although Trenton Social hasn’t done a holiday pop-up shop scene before the pandemic, its owner T.C. Nelson said they were more ready to try again this year.
“Trenton Social has always been a gathering place. So it’s a natural avenue that we can take with the traffic that’s created here, from the bar and the restaurant, and share that with local people that are trying to launch a brand or a business,” Nelson said.
Between the two businesses, there were more than 20 vendors at the pop-up shops, all from the Mercer County area, selling various go-to Christmas presents from hair supplies to books to bejeweled water bottles and plates.
Tracy Jackson, owner of Reflections Salon, located on S Broad Street, was one of the vendors selling hair supplies from her salon at Food Bar and Grill. “What we like to do is take care of hair,” Jackson said. “So it’s not just about doing the hair to want to make sure that everybody has what they need to maintain their hair at home because they don’t have a hairstylist that lives.”
She used this Christmas pop-up shop to spread her business out to the community. “It feels wonderful to be able to come out and showcase what we have. You get a lot of people that don’t come to the salon. We still want to be able to offer our things because everybody needs it,” Jackson said.
Meanwhile, Trenton Social held Stephine Welsh, owner of Bijouterie Charcuterie, which sells homemade goat cheese, cheddar truffles, and white cheddar truffle with pecans, dried cranberries, and chives alongside many other delicacies. Welsh’s company recently obtained her LLC status and has officially been in business for only four months. “Business is great. We’re picking up, learning as we go… This is our second event since we have been in business,” Welsh said.
Throughout the events, customers were able to come up and talk with the vendors creating connections across the city. “It’s important because it helps,” Blakely said, “to be able to support each other and use your entrepreneurial skills to make money..(it) brings us together, we eat, we have fun, we listen to music.”