You don’t have to go far to find another unique perspective in this neighborhood. This latest one comes from Shaw resident and South Grand business owner Julio Zegarra-Ballon. Julio opened a shop on South Grand between Wyoming and Humphrey last fall, full of beautiful Fair Trade, hand-crafted goods from around the globe. I personally found a purse there right when they opened and have used it literally every single day since. Score!
Julio, who moved from Peru to the United States in 1990 (and has lived in St. Louis for 17 years), recently completed his MBA at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. South Grand was the perfect spot for his internationally-minded business, which he opened last November. Having sold online and at events for over a year before opening a brick-and-mortar store, he was thrilled to be hiring employees (at fair wages, of course) and letting customers see and feel the products he’s gathered from artists all over the world. I can say with certainty that it’s a delightful shop and I am proud to know he’s a neighbor to boot, but I’ll leave you with these comments and photos in his own words about his experiences:
“To me, being an entrepreneur is about having the power to build a business that makes a difference and about doing something unexpected. Zee Bee Market does that. Most of the things we buy are mass-produced and customers don’t get any say in how they were manufactured or how the people that made them were treated. Fair Trade items are hand-made and they stand for equality. They stand for dignity. They stand for beauty.”
Check out Julio’s family at the grand opening, the outside of the shop, Julio meeting Fred Bird in his Historic Shaw Art Fair tshirt at the Hispanic Festival, the inside of the shop and a visit to artisans in Peru!
3211 South Grand Boulevard