top of page

About Us

Finding Inspiration in Every Turn

The Market exists to support small Black-owned businesses and improve the economic future of the historic Eastside, an African American neighborhood located east of Downtown Jacksonville, affectionately referred to as Out East by locals.


The Melanin Market's approach to economic redevelopment in this re-emerging community capitalizes on acknowledging the Eastside's assets, particularly residents' love of their neighborhood. In this place, Eastside business owners and minority entrepreneurs throughout Northeast Florida join to sell their products and services in a festival marketplace. It is essential to recognize that the Market is also an ecosystem for African American consumers who seek to live, shop, celebrate, work, and play in their community. This symbiosis of bringing sellers and buyers together for their mutual benefit is the heartbeat of the Melanin Market.


Our Story

The Melanin Market ("the Market) is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 2018 by business owners and community activists. The Market's founders envisioned creating an economically driven experience to activate the Eastside by inviting Jacksonville residents into this unique neighborhood dating back to the end of the Civil War. The Market was also created to celebrate the resiliency of the Eastside through its people, culture, traditions, institutions, and history.


The tradition of outdoor markets prevalent in the merchant-driven societies of Africa, the Caribbean, and Asia inspired the creation of the Market. In its short history, the Melanin Market has evolved from an outdoor retail experience into an organic business incubator providing space, education, funding, and networks for new and emerging businesses. The Market is also a social institution that honors and celebrates excellence, achievement, entrepreneurship, and artistic endeavors.

Dawn Curling

Founder & CEO

Dawn’s mission is for The Melanin Market to inspire hope in the reality of an economically secure minority entrepreneur network. Creating a movement where ethics, culture, and community intercede to reform the structure of Jacksonville’s eastside and provide a framework for a national minority economic and business enterprise.  


Meet The Team

bottom of page