By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer
Eastside Market is held at Brotherwell Brewery every third Sunday of the month. It rotates local artisans, small businesses, food vendors and music groups in and out of the community space.
Entrepreneurs Eric Linares and Andreas Zaloumis celebrated the vendor market’s one-year anniversary since they saw it grow legs last fall. The market brings communities together in the east side of Waco, Linares said.
After graduating from Baylor with an entrepreneurship degree, the Waco community and its stories kept Linares from leaving the college town. He got a full-time job at Sherwin Williams after graduating in 2018 but soon realized it was time to do his own thing.
“I started seeing all the construction that was happening and connected the dots. I thought, ‘Something is happening in Waco, I think it is time to grow and do something,’” Linares said. “So I got out of there and started doing my food concepts, photography for small businesses and social media management.”
He was exposed to a network of small businesses and those with similar interests through those jobs. Linares said he made a connection with market co-founder, Zaloumis, over a similar creative passion, photography, and their roles as small business owners.
The community connections were at the heart of it all for Eastside Market, which Linares said supports the local artist community and exposes the Eastside community to patrons.
“The market is a really cool spot for everyone to come and enjoy local artisan vendors, food and music,” he said. “We wanted to create a community space to be inclusive and open to everyone. People can really experience a side of Waco they hadn’t before because there are so many parts of Waco and different communities.”
Recently, Linares said he has been inspired by the success story of a Baylor student at the market.
“She started off with a little five foot table, and brought out maybe 50 earrings that she made and killed it,” Linares said. “So she has been coming back and growing along steadily. That’s the story I like seeing, I love seeing people find a passion and are able to create something out of it.”
Frisco sophomore Ellie Meinershagen, owner of Acute Accents, was a part of the Oso Launch Program her freshman year. She said she decided to start making clay earrings and selling them at local markets and businesses, and then she was connected to Linares. She said she would like to boost the work of other artists too.
“My best friend is an artist. She designed my business cards and made up the logo because all the earrings are based on one of my friends,” Meinershagen said. “I would love to sell more art or incorporate different artists’ work, maybe have my own space one day.”
Meinershagen pointed out another artist at the market that had shared a booth with Acute Accents at the handmade farmer’s market in the beginning of her business venture. Last Sunday, Meinershagen shared her own space at Eastside with her roommate’s business.
“That is the spirit of the market — to create a community space where we support each other and build each other up,” Linares said.
The community space has offered new connections in Waco for Meinershagen too, she said.
“It’s been great to be a part of Eastside because I’ve gotten to connect more with local Waco,” Meinershagen said. “Especially as a Baylor student from Dallas, I didn’t know much of Waco. This has introduced me to a lot of really cool artists and other small business owners in the area.”
Linares said the emphasis on community and relationships at the market is what it’s all about for him as well as supporting local artists and artisan businesses.
“Waco is one of those cities where you have to expand your network and make connections through previous relationships,” Linares said. “They really build the city up because you’re able to leverage what everyone else is doing and at the same time create your own thing.”