By Sarah Smith | firstname.lastname@example.org
Tucked away in the heart of Lincolnville is a market that one woman is slowly making a destination for St. Augustine residents.
Nicole Smith was residing in Orlando, Fla. last year when her son, Kris, called her about the clothing boutique and art gallery he co-owned with his friend Shawn Thomas.
The Corner Market was up and running, but the art gallery in the connecting room wasn’t bringing in enough money. Maintaining both was becoming difficult for Kris and Shawn, so Smith suggested that the room be converted into a health food store.
“We threw the idea at a lot of the neighbors about having a store and received a positive response,” Smith said.
Kris and Shawn, artists themselves, converted the gallery but left behind an art vibe. Large paintings hang from the walls, including portraits of men with plants growing from their heads. The gallery trickles into the bathroom where portraits, still life and abstract paintings remain.
The Corner Market officially opened in January 2014, but it was still far from complete.
“We slowly added to it because we wanted to have the doors open,” Smith said. “We wanted to keep working on it as people walk in the door and get familiar with us being here.”
Ultimately, Smith wants to make the market a health food store but right now regular chips, soda and baked goods can be found on the shelves. Smith said that the baked goods are one of their best sellers, especially the “raging red velvet cupcakes” made by Smith’s mother.
The market also specializes in the unusual and unexpected. Smith makes her own beet, turnip root and rutabaga candies at home and sells them at the market under her company name Royal Beets.
Food is not the only thing found in the small space. For avid readers, the back of the store is filled with novels ranging from children’s stories to history and law books. This summer, The Corner Market will host a children’s book club under the direction of a local sharp-minded thirteen-year old.
“It used to be a library back in the 1950’s and 60’s and we wanted to keep that feel. We want it to be welcoming, where people can come, sit down and just stay awhile,” Smith said.
From book clubs to cookouts, The Corner Market is undergoing serious changes. With the help of a resident and a team of locals, the area behind the market is going to be renovated into a garden.
Day by day, Smith is learning how she wants to manage the market, from how the products are displayed to what companies to buy products from. In the coming months, Smith hopes to get the store’s kitchen certified, as well as host spoken word events, guest speakers and Sunday Fundays on the first Sunday of the month following Artwalk.