LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — After years of planning and dreaming and one global pandemic, the end goal is in sight at GreyLine Station.
"To see it actually turning into physical things that you can touch, and being able to show it to people who are going to be able to benefit from it is really, that's an incredible feeling," said Kris Nonn, executive director of the North Limestone Community Development Corporation, the non-profit behind the marketplace inside GreyLine Station.
The 23,000-square-foot building on the corner of North Limestone and Loudon Avenue has been a lot of things over its 92-year history, most recently the former Lextran Hub, but now it is taking shape to serve one of its most meaningful purposes yet.
"I am just very excited and ready to share that excitement with the community," said Leannia Haywood, the small business development and market manager.
The new GreyLine Station will be a year-round, multi-vendor public market. The grand opening is currently set for November 1. Inside the new GreyLine Station will be a host of shops, community resources, a cultural stage, and a marketplace at the heart of the space.
Seventy-two vendor kiosks make up the Julietta Market, named after late Lexington civil rights icon Julia Etta Lewis who fought for African Americans to be bus drivers at that very station.
"She lived by a credo that said, 'if you want something go get it,' and we are here to help people go get it," Haywood said.
The kiosks can be rented on a monthly basis where business owners can get their ideas off the ground with low-overhead and lots of help. There is an emphasis on bringing in under-represented business owners like women, people of color and those who have been previously incarcerated.
"When you get community involved and people start to see that things are growing and that they can be part of it and they see themselves represented, you see growth take off like you've never seen it before," Haywood explained.
These efforts, perhaps more important now than ever. With the pandemic forcing countless mom and pop shops to close, the marketplace will offer a safe space for those with an entrepreneurial spirit to cultivate their talents.
"We're trying to position it where people who wouldn't normally benefit from it are in a position to benefit from that change," Nonn said.
Above all, Nonn and Haywood said they want everything under the roof to reflect the neighborhood and its needs.
They said it is a space for the people and by the people, something they agree is crucial for the North Limestone area and Lexington at large to continue to grow and thrive.
Haywood says the space is filling up fast, but the Julietta Marketplace is still taking applications for vendors.
For more information including how to apply or donate visit: http://www.nolicdc.org/julietta-market
Confirmed tenants at GreyLine Station include:
-North Lime Coffee & Donuts (moving from their current North Limestone location)
-Old North Bar
-Laura Lou Pâtisserie
-Clerestory, event space
-Black Soil, bringing together urban families with rural and urban-based black farmers, growers and producers across Kentucky
-The Koko Shop, zero-waste refills and sustainable living products
-Poppy & Pomelo, a socially-conscious home and lifestyle boutique
-Lexington Community Radio/RADIOLEX
-Shares Community Kitchen, sponsored by the NoLi CDC
-Forage plant shop
-Nourished Folks, providing good food, support and celebration of all of life's moments