Auto business turns art gallery

East Ave Market and So Fresh Used Auto Sales combine family tradition and creativity in one-stop shop

Near the corner of East and Carey Avenues sits a large building labeled “So Fresh Used Auto Sales,” which holds the dreams, ambitions, and entrepreneurial spirit of an entire family. You can get your tires there. You can get your car serviced there. And you can also view local art and shop for a gift crafted by a local maker there.

East Ave Market, the brainchild of sisters Charlee Harris and Louise Bane, who came up with the idea after realizing their family’s business, housed in a former Studebaker dealership at 2290 East Ave., only needed the back half of the space to operate.

“East Ave Market is a spot that we can give people in the community, an opportunity to share their wares, share their art,” Louise explained.

“So Fresh Used Auto Sales is the house that East Ave Market lives in,” said Charlee, the East Ave Market’s creative director. “The market is its own thing and gallery space is its own thing and they live in the storefront of So Fresh.”

Louise is East Ave Market’s gallery manager. She fills the space monthly with local artists’ creative works with the goal of creating space where they can “voice themselves through art.” She also owns Weezie Cakes Bakery, a consistent vendor at the East Ave Market.

And while you’d never know it, she’s also following in the family tradition as a mechanic.

“(I’m) getting older now and when I get up from the ground, working on a car, my back is hurting,” she joked. “I don’t want to do this for another 10 or 15 years. I want us to branch off and do the stuff we enjoy.”

Other East Ave Market vendors include Skinsations Body Essentials, which creates natural and customizable body butters and Sweetlycreated4u, which crafts food-inspired soy candles that look (and smell) good enough to eat.

The Harris sisters will bring these and more than a dozen other vendors, for an experience unlike any other as East Ave Market takes over Kenmore First Friday on August 5. Their vendors include four diverse food trucks offering cuisine such as barbeque and Jamaican.

Plus, you can enjoy live poetry from Hidden Tr3sures and locally made wine in the McCutchan Courtyard.

“We’re just here to have a good time and give people a platform to express themselves within their community,” Louise said.

Joining them will be their sister Charisse, an art professor, directing residents in a community mural inspired by summer and Impressionism. Everyone, regardless of artistic ability, is encouraged to contribute to the mural, which will ultimately be displayed at various locations throughout the community including the East Ave Market’s gallery space. “It’s going to be something different and it’s going to be a good time,” Charlee said. “I think we have the best musical act with Free Black! and I think what we have planned fits with the laid back brand of Kenmore.”

East Ave Market is located at 2290 East Ave. They are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Each month, they hold Second Saturday, events that feature a new local artist’s work in the gallery. Interested makers and artists can stop in or contact or (330) 784-4175.

Don’t miss East Ave Market live on Kenmore Boulevard at Kenmore First Friday, Aug. 5 from 6 to 9 p.m.


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