As Tiffany Ferrecchia stood outside the Kaleisia Tea Lounge, she sensed nothing but positive vibes from the sights and sounds nearby.
“It’s all good,” said Ferrecchia, the founder of the Twilight Market, a Tuesday evening bazaar that recently debuted with a soft reopening at 1441 E. Fletcher Ave., following the September closing of its former home at the Roosevelt 2.0 in Ybor City.
Close to a dozen vendors with a focus on selling local organic, eco-friendly products set up shop in the open-air venue operated by the Urban Coalition of Tampa, a nonprofit grassroots organization built on creating a sustainable community.
Among them were Cassie’s Cookies owners Cassie and Scott Bookamer, bakers of gluten-free cookies; Cow Paddy Irish Fudge maker Richard Wright, whose sweet treats are devoid of preservatives and artificial flavorings; Sausage Laboratory founders Bea and Tom Miranda, artisans of locally produced nitrate-, steroid- and hormone-free pork sausage.
Eden’s Nectar representative Mary Ivey also was on hand to tout raw honey products from her aunt and uncle’s honey bee farm in Land O’Lakes; and Criss Holzaepfel of Woodapple Farms in Floral City, Fla., offered up an array of handmade goats’ milk soaps, lotions and essential oil perfumes.
In addition, Tony Cooper of Sereniteas & Soothers, turned out to show and sell her assortment of locally grown herbal tea products; and Olive Girl creator Maria Mogyorossy set up a display and samplings of her green Italian olive, black Italian olive and hot Italian salad selections she claims contain no preservatives. Alongside her booth were representatives from Tropical Gardens, a mostly mail-order business that produces orchids and tropical plants in a pesticide-free environment.
“Tonight is great for the first time,” Ferrecchia said. “Customers are buying and the people are happy.”
She was impressed by the number of vendors who signed on, considering they were given little more than a week’s notice prior to the market’s opening. She’s also optimistic more will follow as the weeks wear on and the word gets out.
And Ferrecchia is ecstatic to have the support of Kaleisia Tea Lounge owner Kim Pham, whose idea it was to locate the market on her property.
Pham said she was prompted to sponsor the market based on Ferrecchia’s outstanding customer base.
“I really found that appealing,” she said. “I love the community getting together, and being that the Twilight (Market) in Ybor shut down I want to help keep it alive.”
Both Ferrecchia and Pham were encouraged by the steady stream of visitors who came, chatted with the vendors, and sampled and purchased products.
The market will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. every Tuesday through April of 2014, except Dec. 24 and 31. It will host a New Year’s Celebration on Jan. 7.
Call Ferrecchia at (813) 481-8805 or email her at urbancoalitionoftampa [email protected] for more information.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at [email protected]