1. Ashaki Daugherty - Owner of Kula Kula
After giving birth to her twins in 2014, Daugherty told Dayton.com she became ill with congestive heart failure. She said doctors told her she wouldn’t live to see them turn 5, but here she is.
Instead of sitting at home, she said she decided to start cooking because people have always loved her food. In 2015, she had her first brick-and-mortar location on Dixie Drive in Dayton. From there, she served her food in a night club and eventually the Dayton Mall.
Daugherty explained owning Kula Kula gives her the ability to spend extra time with her kids.
“These kids have been there through the whole thing, they really have,” Daugherty said. “They’re 8 now. I’ve surpassed that five-year mark.”
Daugherty described Kula Kula as having a soul, eclectic menu for the adventurous palate. She uses seafood and turkey products instead of pork or beef. Customer favorites include soul rolls, an eggroll filled with macaroni and cheese, smoked turkey, collard greens and soul sauce. She said the secret sauce is “a little bit of sweet, a little bit of spice and a whole lot of soul.”
Kula Kula will feature sticky wangz, Mediterranean salads with honey smoked salmon or Italian herb grilled chicken and vegan stir fry on opening day.
“I’m excited about this,” Daugherty said. “This is a beautiful opportunity to still maintain a smaller amount of hours, but still get the product out. This literally has been what has kept us afloat.”
She also offers catering for events through her business.
2. Tanisha Coleman - Owner of Fruitilicious
Coleman recalled the beautiful fruit and vegetable displays her mother and cousin would lay out at family birthday parties growing up.
“It was definitely a way for them to get us to eat more nutritious snacks and, for me, it was the creativity,” Coleman said. “Besides seeing creative things on TV, it was the first time I saw creativity in my own house.”
Those displays are what she said inspired her years later to venture on her own and make a business out of creating unique fruit platters and displays.
“I started learning how to carve fruit and started making my fruit displays stand out every time with a different look,” Coleman said.
Two years ago, she said she started selling fruit and much more on a smaller, cheaper scale via a fruit truck.
Coleman said she is thankful for the opportunity at District Market because it is giving her a platform to sell her products year-round.
Fruitilicious offers fruit cups, waffle fruit cones, fruit kabobs, watermelon fruit pizza, jar salads, fruit Kool-Aid, other drinks and more.
“I’m looking forward to meeting people that want to invest in what I have going on,” Coleman said.
She explained she would love to have her own bottled beverage in the future.
3. Monique Briscoe-Love - Owner of Sisters
Briscoe-Love, who also serves as the manager of District Market, said she had the idea of Sisters at a very young age.
“I used to always cook dinners and desserts with my aunts,” Briscoe-Love said. “They would be in the kitchen cooking and I would be the youngest in there helping them cook. I really enjoyed it.”
When she got older, she felt the urge to do her own thing, so she started cooking and selling dinners, which expanded to include events.
Briscoe-Love said when she first started, her sister would help her cook and sell food (hence the name of her business).
“This is definitely a new start to something new and I’m excited about it,” Briscoe-Love said “I just love cooking. It’s my passion. I feel like I tell a story to my customers through my food.”
Customers can expect a mixture of everything at Sisters, but Briscoe-Love said Puerto Rican and Mexican food are her favorite dishes. On opening day, customers can expect quesadillas and elotes Mexican corn.
“When you come to Sisters, you are definitely in for a treat,” Briscoe-Love said.
In the future, she said she would love to have a food truck or restaurant.
4. Candice Sealey - Owner of CandyLush
CandyLush, featuring premium novelty items for adults, is on the shelves at District Market.
The business features wine slushies, alcohol infused cotton candy and glitter bombs to make drinks shimmer.
Sealey told Dayton.com she came across a restaurant that offered wine slushies when she was traveling for work, which inspired her new business opportunity. After doing a few festivals, Sealey said the wine slushies were a hit, so she added cotton candy.
“I’m excited to see where this is going to take my business,” Sealey said. “I hope it opens doors for me to start being booked for private parties and catering to events with my products.”
Customers can purchase wine slushy mix and bourbon slushy mix at the market.
Sealey said she is from Dayton, but recently moved back to her hometown after living in Columbus for 20 years.
“I saw that the small business circuit was really booming down here and I wanted to get my foot in it,” Sealey said.
5. Gabrielle Little, Owner of The scRumptious Dessert
Little is pushing the limits of rum cakes at District Market by offering a variety of sizes and flavors.
Customers can purchase anything from vanilla with pecans to chocolate with chocolate ganache and even eggnog and peppermint rum cakes.
If the name of her business sounds familiar, The scRumptious Dessert is also a vendor at 2nd Street Market on the weekends.
“I grew up with rum cakes, so it’s just ingrained in family history,” said Little.
She described a rum cake as a super moist cake.
“It’s like a sponge cake and a birthday cake had a baby,” said Little.
She began selling rum cakes in 2019. She looks forward to “getting more people to see there is another cake option out there and a delicious one at that.”
In the future, Little hopes to open a brick-and-mortar that will provide her customers a unique experience.
For more information on District Market or to see menus from the vendors, visit the market’s Facebook page.