CHICAGO — A marketplace on the city’s far South Side is showcasing several new Black-owned businesses.

Taharia Randolph says she reached a breaking point in 2021. She connected with a social media community that helped her focus on healing, which became the inspiration for her family’s business, Body & Soul Experience.

“During the pandemic, I was experiencing a lot of anxiety and fear,” Randolph said. “My daughters and I sat down, came up with a family business name, started learning about scents and how to make candles and it turned into something so much bigger.”

Now Randolph hosts international candle-making workshops and has a physical location to sell her products, inside the Far South CDC Marketplace, near 115th Street and South Halsted Street.

From candles to coffee, to clothes, there are currently nine Black-owned businesses housed inside the marketplace.

“We have so much talent here that we need to incubate and grow,” Abraham Lacy, Far South Community Development Corporation President, said.

The initial pilot program launched last November, and with support from the Coleman Foundation, the marketplace will run through December, but Lacy hopes to keep it going.

“If we are not feeding into the backbone of our Black and brown businesses, our communities will continue to suffer. This opportunity shows a vast network of skills and ability, and dreams that people have,” Lacy said.

Learn more about Body & Soul Experience

Randolph says her goal is to go global with her candles, all labeled with affirmations.

“Now having our own location, we’re opening it up to our community because we shouldn’t have to go out of our community to get the health and wellness that we need,” Randolph said. “It’s life-changing, just solidifying. You have the ability to create your reality.”