By Avery Ballmann | Staff Writer
Eastside Market is where Waco creators can express themselves through their merchandise and art. Every third Sunday of the month, the lot behind Brotherwell Brewing transforms into an oasis for shoppers and vendors.
Baylor alumnus and community organizer Eric Linares partnered with Brotherwell Brewing and friend Andreas Zaloumis in August 2019 to create the market.
“We have a broad range of people. When you look at the makeup of the market, you look out at the people here, you see a completely wide range of ages, ethnicities, communities, so that’s kind of what we want,” Linares said. “We want to make sure we always bring together a lot of different people.”
With an average of 40-45 vendors participating in each market, customers have a wide variety to shop from, whether that be vintage apparel, jewelry, food trucks or experiencing art.
Not only is the variety of the shoppers diverse, but so are the creators. Jorge Carbajal is a literacy aide at South Bosque Elementary School, but he spray paints at Eastside for fun and to inspire his students.
“I think my art helps my students to let them know that they don’t actually have to draw what they see on TV; anything that they can think about they can come up with and draw it,” Carbajal said. “At the end of the day, it’s our imagination that separates us from everyone else.”
Carbajal’s mural is a Kendo warrior with a spray paint cap to represent his love of art and doing something unique. The murals stay up at Brotherwell for the entire month until the next market occurs.
Each vendor has different goals, but they all fall under the umbrella of what Eastside Market is all about: fostering a creative community. Owner of Papa J’s Closet Manuel Vasquez started his business because of his son’s interest in vintage clothing and in honor of his father’s battle with colon cancer.
“My goal is basically to recycle clothes,” Vasquez said. “There’s a lot of garments that still [have] a lot of life in [them], still has a lot of style, good look and brand; it’s a lot cheaper for the customer coming here and finding a shirt that fits their style.”
Papa J’s closet specializes in 90s and early 2000s vintage apparel. It doesn’t have a storefront, which is where the importance of the market comes into play. Vasquez said they participate in pop-up shops in Dallas and just started selling at Eastside in December.
Another family-operated booth is Caramelo’s. Austin senior Meghan Yoyotte created a beaded jewelry business with her grandmother last January. Yoyotte was only selling her bracelets, necklaces, rings and other products in Austin until she interviewed Brotherwell for one of her classes.
“I was so grateful to find a community of people who have the same interests as me,” Yoyotte said. “I didn’t see that much here in Waco.”
Yoyotte’s grandmother is from Venezuela and doesn’t speak English, so making jewelry is a way for them to connect. Since selling at Eastside, Yoyotte said she has received more business in Waco.
Another Baylor alumna and her boss decided to take on Eastside Market. Karisa Garner and Shaun Lee work for the Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network, but after the 9-to-5 workday, they sketch and paint for Hope and Harper Art Collective.
“With the Eastside Market, it’s not like trying to get into a market in a larger city,” Garner said. “It’s a controlled enough size where two random community members are able to get a booth here and be a part of the art scene.”
Garner and Lee create original art pieces, in-house prints with images known around Waco and images of everyday life. Even though they are not full-time artists, they found a place in the market that fits their schedules and creative hunger.
Linares plans to expand Eastside by holding it more often and at different locations. The market is planning on participating in Wacotown Chalk + Walk this May.
“We want to continue to grow the footprint of the market, to include a lot more vendors and get a lot more people coming through,” Linares said. “Just expand the idea of what we started off with, which was creating a cool, inclusive, open space where everyone can have a good time.”