COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As many shoppers are participating in small business Saturday, what better way than to stay local and shop at Soda City Market place?
According to the Soda City website, there is an average of 150 vendors per week, and a database of over 400 vendors.
It’s Columbia’s weekly Main Street event inspired by traditional European street markets.
These businesses are what some say is the ‘heart and soul’ of Columbia, and what makes Soda City feel like home.
Among the local business along Main Street, you’ll find Hippy Do-Da Creations, a jewelry business owned by Chris and Justin Marshall.
“Hippy Do-Da was born in 2012. I was an art student at McMasters and I was just looking for something to do part-time,” Chris Marshall said. “I wanted to do something in the art field I really didn’t know what that would look like, for a long time I thought it would be teaching art, but you know life is a journey and you never know. I never in a million years thought I’d be a jeweler.”
Seven years in the making, their small business turned into the Marshall’s livelihood.
“Running a small business is not as easy as it looks. I would say it’s my heart and soul. 100 plus hours goes into it weekly if not more, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” Chris Marshall said.
She said it was a chance she took, but her small business gave her much more in return.
“I like to say that this business, it saved my life in many ways,” Chris Marshall said. “I am celebrating six years of continued sobriety. So this opportunity to kind of see what I’m capable of to be rewarded in so many ways when I see people wear my art and it really motivates me to keep going.”
Behind each of her handmade pieces of art, a message is carried.
“If you’ve visited soda city, you know we have a variety of mantra cuffs,” Chris Marshall said. “I think the mantras that I stamp really reflect who I am as a pers, and in the box, you’ll find a lot that are like ‘today I can’ or ‘keep going,’ things that reflect my journey. Trust the journey in my sobriety. And they’re little pieces of my heart.”
So the next time you shop at a small business, know there is likely a story behind what you buy.
For Chris Marshall, it’s a piece of her. A token to her sobriety, as she looks to years of success ahead.
“Hippy Do-Da is here to stay. I don’t see myself wanting to do anything else,” Chris Marshall said. “I will continue to make jewelry until my hands no longer allow me to. I love what I do. It’s not always easy, but it’s so fulfilling in so many ways. I can’t picture doing anything else, ever.”
You can shop at Hippy Do-Da and other local small businesses every Saturday on Main St. rain or shine from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
If you’re interested in becoming a vendor for the Soda City market, click here.
According to a study conducted by American Express, for every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., roughly 67 cents stays in the local community.