The reopening of Soda City Market has been highly anticipated since its closing in early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As vendors and visitors returned Saturday, the scene was much different than usual. Vendor tents were spaced apart and visitors wore masks.
Kay Boyd, owner of Lucuma Gourmet, expressed her excitement being back at Soda City. “Today was great considering the situation, customers responded well,” she said. “Many of our customers today were regulars, we didn’t see a lot of new faces today.”
Eight years ago, Boys began her company as K&K Gourmet Sweets. Since then, she has rebranded calling her business Lucuma Gourmet, Lucuma being a fruit found in her home country in Peru. Offering sweet and savory treats, Boyd said her journey to building her business took some time. “I was one of the first foreign vendors at any of Columbia’s markets,” she said. “It took some time for people to get used to my food, but over time it has been a good turnout.”
Though her time away from Soda City included as much time at home as possible, she expressed her happiness to be back under her big tent on Main Street selling her baked goods to locals.
Boyd said she was very comforted to see that almost 90 percent of her customers wore a mask and maintained safe social distancing practices.
During her three months away from the weekly Saturday market, Boyd said she had to find new way to sell her products and create a plan for the future in case the COVID-19 pandemic brings a second wave of shutdowns. “I have to get creative now and prepare ahead,” she said. Boyd said she is considering the option of selling goods from her home for delivery/pickup and is hoping to make “take-and-bake” options for her customers.
Soda City Market unveiled a new set of guidelines earlier this week that included protocols for the market to successfully operate. Hand sanitizing stations were readily available and all food items were individually packaged. Many food vendors neglected the option of free samples to avoid contact with others.
The market is scheduled to take place each Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.