There’s an indoor market called Emporium Square where many small businesses are selling their wares. Barbara Martinez, the Emporium Square co-owner, teamed up with her partner Orlando Lallave in June of 2020 to create a space meant just for small businesses.

“I was running the Chamber of Commerce at the time and I knew a lot of my small businesses that were members were losing or closing their doors. And this became the perfect opportunity to invite them here under one roof, to a common business space where we can all survive together,” said Martinez.

What You Need To Know

  • Emporium Square Artisan Market opened in August 2020

  • Orlando Lallave and Barbara Martinez are the owners

  • Lallave had a vision of opening his eyewear business in 2015

Martinez says the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on a lot of people she knew. She and Lallave decided to create an incubator of sorts for other small businesses, and were able to open their doors in August 2020.

Lallave moved from Brooklyn in 2015 and had a vision to create a space to sell eyewear.

“It was a great start for me to be able to open up my own store without all of the inherent overhead that comes with having a store,” said Lallave. “I couldn't afford to open a brick and mortar and also take the risk of going into such an endeavor full time.”

With a positive response from neighbors, Lallave was able to expand his eyewear business while also helping his fellow entrepreneurs.

“The eyewear store is what allowed me to then invest into making Emporium for the community and for the merchants, and to keep the dream alive for other businesses to grow to their full potential,” said Lallave.

Martinez says she hopes other small businesses thrive, so people use the experience to shop more local more often.

“When we say ‘shop small, support local,’ we want people to really know who they're supporting, and it's people within their own community,” said Martinez.