Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people He has chosen for His own inheritances.
Thank you to Tracey Foster for all the late-night calls, all the laughter, crying, writing letters, editing letters, and just being there and being my third eye.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have always enjoyed doing presentations, promoting positive ideas, and selling products. It’s been in my bloodstream since I was a child. I remain a creative person who loves fashion, design, and details.
A new client from Toronto wanted to open an upscale fl ea market in the city. The plan was to use the old Trico plant on Main and Halbert Streets. I thought the idea was perfect for the community. I put together a three-week advertising schedule and a remote package for the radio station to be live during the grand opening.
I asked the Toronto team about leasing space for an idea I had. Entrepreneurship was within the realm of possibility for me because I grew up hearing stories of my grandparents’ successful business enterprise from my father, whose parents operated businesses in the late 1940s in Money Point, Virginia. I also saw it here in Buffalo as a child; my uncle Noile, my dad’s brother, brought produce to the community in his truck from neighborhood to neighborhood.
And so it was that in the summer of 1991, we opened up our first children’s store, Sheila’s Kiddy Korner, at the fl ea market called Market on Main. It was an old warehouse redone as an indoor marketplace. Each business had a twenty-by-twenty-square-foot area to decorate into a storefront. There were four levels, and our business was located on the third.
The flea market was open on Saturdays and Sundays. We sold kids’ clothes, accessories, toys, books, and candy. There was an amazing turnout on the first weekend that the Market on Main opened. Sheila’s Kiddy Korner was a hit—all the items we had on our two fold-up tables were sold. We reordered more items for the next weekend. My girlfriend, Tracey Foster, started ordering items for me from the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. The Merchandise Mart had four levels of women’s clothes, furniture, children’s items, and accessories; they were all sample pieces from clothing lines for upcoming fashion seasons.
We stayed at the Market on Main for over a year, and a lot of people of color who had ideas for opening their own stores and boutiques did so as well. Sharon’s sister-in-law, Cyndi, opened up a
business called Bubbles on the Market on Main. She sold bathroom products and accessories.