Business Shipping Containers
Six businesses were selected for the Atlanta BeltLine MarketPlace pilot program. The businesses will receive affordable commercial spaces with storefronts. The pilot program includes Black-owned businesses, veterans, families, and members of the LGBTQ+ community: Cococakes by Coco; Good As Burgers; Grady Baby Company & Apparel; Not As Famous Cookie Company; PinkPothos and Urban Grind.
The program received over 200 applicants. According to BeltLine Director of Economic Development Kara Cooper, the selected businesses had to have at least $50,000 in revenue and have been established for a year.
The businesses were announced on July 11, 2022, and will each have shipping containers that will open either on the Westside or Eastside Trails, giving entrepreneurs direct access to the BeltLine corridor. Local graffiti artists have been hired to decorate the shipping containers.
Cooper said the organization has been waiting to do an initiative like this one for years to support local Black-owned businesses. She said they had to really sit down and come up with a curriculum that would be beneficial for the entrepreneurs, so they partnered with The Village Market.
Inaugural BeltLine MarketPlace Day
To celebrate the program and the inaugural BeltLine MarketPlace Day, the Beltline is hosting a block party on August 20, 2022, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST at 1089 Allene Avenue, S.W., Atlanta.
The block party will be a time for the community to meet and support the new businesses on the BeltLine. The two-hour event will have kid activities, giveaways from V-103, and more.
Meet Some of the Business Owners
PinkPothos is one of the six businesses selected for the inaugural incubator class. Owner Lakeisha Jones started selling plants through Facebook groups and now she’s able to have her own brick-and-mortar.
This is a new journey for Jones, especially when it comes to making sure her store has consistent inventory. Along with learning more about the business side of things, Jones has received a lot of marketing tools that have helped her business grow.
According to Jones, the BeltLine has been documenting the entire process.
Jones started selling plants and fabrics for plant pots during COVID once she was able to keep a plant alive. For Jones, she’s excited to be at the BeltLine so she can expose more people to the joys of being a plant parent.
“Plants are beautiful. I want to teach people who feel like don’t have a green thumb about plants,” said Jones. “It’s about actually keeping something alive. It does become a type of addiction…once you start succeeding in raising a plant you want another and another.”
Cooper and the entire BeltLine team are excited to support entrepreneurial journeys like Jones, which is why they’ve made sure to support the entrepreneurs before, during, and after the program.
Alexander Albritton was also selected as one of the business owners for the BeltLine program. Albritton is the owner of Grady Baby, an apparel company dedicated to highlighting babies born at Atlanta–Grady Memorial Hospital.
Albritton’s father is a Grady Baby and she’s honored to have a business that her family can relate to. According to Albritton, they make all of their apparel at home.
She said the process of entering into the program was pretty easy but challenging. Just like Jones, Albritton is creating a new system to handle the store’s inventory.
“We’re used to making our own stuff but having to make an entire inventory was a different experience,” said Albritton.
Albritton said the constant meetings and training in the program have helped her in her journey.
“It’s an amazing experience,” said Albritton. “I have to take a minute…this is a big deal…it’s a humbling experience as much as it is a mind-boggling experience.”
BeltLine MarketPlace is a joint initiative of Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. and The Village Market, it is organized in alliance with Atlanta BeltLine Partnership and Atelier 7 Architects and made possible through the Kendeda Fund.
Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.