Nachand Trabue is the founder of the MELANnaire Marketplace, a traveling market for Black-owned businesses that usually operates out of downtown Louisville.
It has made a name for itself as a popular holiday market at St. Matthews since it was founded to support black-owned businesses. It has opened a temporary storefront next to the women’s Dillard’s in Louisville for the second year, selling items from more than two dozen black businesses.
Trabue was moved to launch the marketplace in 2020. After she lost her 23-year-old son, Makel Coleman, a father-to-be and aspiring entrepreneur, who was shot and killed in the Pleasure Ridge Park area in July, the community rallied around her.
“I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing if it wasn’t for the community,” Trabue told WKLY. The grieving mother has kept the market going to continue blessing others and supporting people in realizing their dreams of running a prosperous business. She is doing this while honoring her son’s memory, according to the news outlet.
“This is part of my mission as I work around gun violence and tell people to put the guns down,” she said. “Let’s go ahead and learn how to be entrepreneurs, and we’re going to help people get trained to be that.”
The market has supported the growth of numerous black entrepreneurs since its inception. It offers a helping atmosphere, advertises the goods of black entrepreneurs, and cultivates a social network.
“It’s all underneath one roof, together. You can find candles, clothing, golf gear, nurse apparel, books, and custom gifts—whatever you need,” Trabue remarked.
Less than 3% of business owners in Louisville are Black, according to the outlet. Small businesses in the market agreed that the market provides them with exposure that they would not have had otherwise.
Tiphanie Grant, one of the merchants who is selling her custom gift baskets at the market for the first time, said, “It was literally a leap of faith to say, I’m going to do this, and I want people to know about this great product that I have. Most small businesses, we have so many obstacles we have to overcome. This allows us the space to grow and connect with other businesses in the process.”