West Village co-op features North Texas artists, vendors

The pandemic has crushed many small businesses, but some local entrepreneurs and artists are setting up in a very popular Dallas shopping destination.

Market, in the trendy West Village, is a brand new co-op of 12 vendors -- nine of them women-owned small businesses.

The vendors feature everything from men’s and women’s fashions, floral creations, candles or unique, enviable bobbles.

The idea for the co-op blossomed from despair in the wake of COVID-19.

“It was dark, I had no idea what was going to happen, it was scary,” said owner Stephen Swetish.

He lost his former business to the pandemic. But after some soul searching and trying his hand at pop-up shops, Market was born.

“What drives me is helping other people,” Swetish said. “It organically and quickly came together with the rest of the vendors and it just clicked.”

There’s a range of items in the co-op -- from a $10 mask to a more substantial purchase, like a $4,000 painting.

West Village developer Robert Bagwell says the concept is good business too, because it fills vacant space by a retailer that went bankrupt. 

“People were like, ‘Oh can I have a piece of my kids?’ So I started doing kid portraits then I started doing dog portraits and the side hustle is now the main hustle,” artist Meghan Young said.

The local entrepreneurs bring with them an army of local social media followers.

“I love supporting local artists and local companies so it’s great,” said shopper Mike Macrone.

Vendor Gladys Contreras says the pandemic nearly decimated her online fashion business, but she’s found a new home at Market. She appreciates the new opportunity and especially the connection with shoppers.

“They want to know everybody’s story, they ask questions where are you from where have you been, where do you get your product,” Contreras said.

Swetish said it’s been hard work, but it’s been worth it.

“It’s challenging, and growth is challenging but it’s also so rewarding at the end,” he said.