Pamela Thornton, owner of Pound Cake Heaven, is excited to be an anchor vendor at the new pop-up marketplace in LOVE Park.

Thornton makes it a goal to vend at a downtown location where her business can receive more exposure.

“Whenever we have the opportunity to come down here we get really excited and it gives us the opportunity to introduce our flavors to the public in Center City,” Thornton said.

Her storefront at LOVE Park serves up an array of pound cake slices in flavors such as banana walnut, coconut, sour butter cream, lemon blueberry and strawberry lemon.

The marketplace located at 1600 JFK Boulevard highlights local entrepreneurs and businesses from different neighborhoods of Philadelphia offering apparel, accessories, art, wellness goods and packaged foods. Pound Cake Heaven joins more than 50 other vendors including AR Workshop, Gynger Tea, justKEEBS, Sable Collective, Wildflower Herbs, Nubian K. Essentials, She’s Phenomenal Fashions and Marlie D’apparel.

Thornton is appreciative of the efforts to showcase locally owned small businesses.

“I believe that our types of businesses have been in the background and it means a whole lot that we are being put out there now, especially in this pandemic, because we’ve lost so much,” said Thornton, who has been in business since 2012.

The marketplace will run for the first four weekends in October, beginning Oct. 2 through Oct. 24 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The pop up was launched through a partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Magic Makers Marketing Collective.

“LOVE Park is one of our busiest and most dynamic public spaces,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell, commissioner, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.

“It is literally the heart of our city. So being here to welcome vendors back to LOVE Park is really an amazing feeling. The return of fall programming to LOVE Park is another sign that Philadelphia’s iconic Center City attractions are open and welcoming to visitors.”

She was joined by city officials, business leaders and vendors during the marketplace’s launch.

“Our vision for this marketplace was to make sure that it reflected the rich diversity of this city and that it was accessible to many small businesses that have survived the pandemic,” said Britany Coleman, a managing partner of the Magic Makers Marketing Collective.

“As local residents are easing their way back out into a sense of normalcy we wanted to make sure that there was something happening for the whole family.”

The pop-up experience also offers programming, including free community yoga and meditation classes on Sundays. Live entertainment will be presented through WRTI, WXPN and REC Philly’s Black Music City initiative, with support from the City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy.

The African-American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware and the Greater Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are hosting storefronts that feature a rotating selection of goods from their retail members. Their storefronts are operating out of repurposed shipping containers, with the exteriors featuring a floral motif designed by muralist Malachi Floyd in collaboration with Mural Arts Philadelphia.

“I just wanted to thank the commissioner, thank LOVE Park and the city of Philadelphia for opening this opportunity for our members so they may come and sell their products here in the city and get the exposure that they need,” said Steven Scott Bradley, chairman of the AACC board.

“Hopefully this will lead to them getting larger contracts and larger opportunities. This is an opportunity for everybody to know that the city of Philadelphia is committed to diversity and inclusion, committed to equity and committed to access for our membership.”

City Councilmember Isaiah Thomas, At-Large, said they are trying to promote that Philadelphia is open for business.

“In the midst of thinking about all of the different negative things that happened over the last year and a half related to the coronavirus, related to the economy, related to small businesses and entrepreneurs, it is our goal as a city to put us in the position where we are encouraging people to come to Philadelphia,” he said.

“We are encouraging people to court Philadelphia and we are encouraging people to support Philadelphia-based businesses.”

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