Meredith Beregovski sinks into a wicker chair near the storefront window of a coffee shop on Concord's Union Street. She takes maybe three sips from her foamy cappuccino before a jogger runs by and waves. Not a minute passes that a business owner spots her through the window, turns back and comes inside to chat.
This will keep up all day if Beregovski stays. In the two years since she opened The Loft at 14th, a popular events venue on Cabarrus Avenue, Beregovski, 26, has become a staple in the downtown business community. With her next venture, Meredith's Market, she hopes to help other business owners become staples and eventually add to the variety of gift boutiques, art galleries and antique shops along the historic streets of downtown Concord.
Meredith's Market promises to showcase a little bit of everything, from the artist who sketches memorable landmarks in Concord to the family who brings in freshly cut flowers from their fields. Local folks, like the ones who mix together gourmet coffees, to the lady who pours flavorful homemade vinegars infused with her own homegrown herbs.
If it's in Meredith's Market, it's either homemade, handmade or homegrown.
Open Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside 14 Cabarrus Ave. W., a restored two-story building with an exposed brick interior, the market held its grand opening in May. Mayor Scott Padgett was there to cut the red ribbon across the shop's front door.
"My goal in this is not to make money," said Beregovski. "My goal is really for people to open their eyes and realize how many local vendors we can get in Cabarrus County."
The venue has already become a hit with vendors. Twenty-two signed up for the first Thursday, with another 10 vendors on her waiting list for upcoming dates.
"I can't fit any more people in there, and I have two of them hanging on the wall, one artisan and one basket maker," said Beregovski.
She hopes many of the vendors, now just home-based businesses, will eventually grow from a small stand at her market to a storefront shop along Union Street someday.
"I really believe in downtown. From an early age, I've loved the quaint cuteness and feel of downtown and that's the way I still feel like it is," said Beregovski. "If people knew what they were missing, they would come into downtown more often."
Born and raised in Concord, Beregovski grew up on Harris Street, attending Beverly Hills Elementary, then Northwest Cabarrus High. After graduation from UNC Charlotte with a major in communications and a minor in women's studies, she opened The Loft at 14th a few days shy of her 26th birthday.
Business has been good, said Beregovski, with two to three events, from showers and rehearsal dinners to business meetings, scheduled each weekend.
If Meredith's Market succeeds, she will consider expanding it. In the meantime, she's already eyeing vacant spaces for business owners looking to spin outside her market.
"There's one that's for lease that's amazing," said Beregovski, of an available storefront on Union Street. "Anyone that can get that building could do incredible things with it. If I had another business idea, I would definitely look into it."