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  • Mohammed Fuad

Baldi opens Santora Street Marketplace


THG/Mohammed Fuad. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940. Santora Street Marketplace owner Briana Baldi.

When Briana Baldi saw small businesses shut down at an alarming rate during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she felt like she had to do something. After watching the news broadcasts of small businesses that have been around for generations shutting down, that lit the fire in her to find a way to help small business owners during a rough period.


This led her to open Santora Street Marketplace, an online ecommerce store where she partners with women around the United States who make handcrafted items or entrepreneurs who manufacture small batch items. The marketplace has reusable products so that they have a focus on the earth.


“We try to reduce waste and we also have a nonprofit partnership with One Tree Planted, so our brand products plant trees,” Baldi said.

Courtesy Photos Pictured Headshot portrait of the late Dorothy E. Santora

The marketplace was established in 2021 when Baldi was on maternity leave with her second child. Her personal love for the earth and the environment was what helped fuel the idea to create the marketplace.


Santora Street Marketplace was named after Baldi’s great grandmother, Dorothy E. Santora, a lifelong Hammonton resident. Baldi’s grandmother, Alice Mazzagatti, still lives in Hammonton. Baldi spoke glowingly of her great grandmother’s “spitfire personality.”


“She’s this strong, independent woman that is still kind and compassionate who is just an amazing figure in my life. She raised my grandmother, my grandmother raised my mom, then me, she was just a part of this strong line of independent women,” Baldi said.

Courtesy Photos Pictured - Dorothy E. Santora posing on a water deck

Being a strong, independent woman during the 1920s was unheard of when it was the classic housewife role that women took upon during that time. While Baldi made note that Santora was one, she also believed that her great grandmother was so much more.


“She was actually the flower girl at my wedding so she definitely impacted how I was raised and just instilled in me, along with my mom and my grandmother, to reach for the unattainable so I definitely think my upbringing was a huge part in what gave me the courage to start this venture,” Baldi said.


“I named it after her to hope that, in the future, her legacy lives on with all of the good work that we’re going to do with the community and the world.”

Courtesy Photos Pictured - Recent photo of Dorothy E. Santora.

Santora’s love for helping others was something that was passed down to Baldi. In the future, her vision is to have marketplaces around the United States, similarly to a Trader Joe’s as she described. One half would be a refillery and the other half to be a gift shop to support and highlight the artisans.


Baldi is no longer living in Hammonton as she currently lives in Rhode Island with her husband and two children. She is a senior engineer for Amgen, a biotechnology company and while she no longer lives in Hammonton, her parents, in-laws and other family members still live there. Where she currently lives in Rhode Island feels like another Hammonton as she described.


Her other vision is to start a foundation in her great grandmother’s name, which would be a scholarship foundation. The foundation would help women who are making the step into entrepreneurship and starting a small business. While the business is growing immensely since she started, she still wanted to highlight that the struggle is real.


Nonetheless, she did a business incubator program through Social Enterprise Greenhouse in Providence, R.I., was featured in The Boston Globe and won an award through Empower Providence from Mayor Jorge Elorza. She’s doing all she can to spread awareness due to the lack of exposure that the marketplace has.


Baldi does plenty of research to find artisans, which helps stand out between the marketplace and Etsy, another ecommerce shop. For her, every product has a story and every purchase makes an impact.

THG/Mohammed Fuad. To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940. Family photo of Dorothy E. Santora (center) with her two children Alice (left) and Charles (right). Dorothy and Charles have passed away and Alice is currently Alice Mazzagatti, who is Briana Baldi’s grandmother.

“The number one thing is the person. Who am I investing in and their story? Who are they and the product that they make?,” Baldi said.


She described the process.


“As a customer when you come to the marketplace, you leave feeling good because your purchases make an impact. I spent an insane amount of time investing in the person and also the quality of the product. I make sure that the quality that I like goes to the site.”


Baldi is still trying to help grow the business as she tries to connect with journalists and spread the word as much as she can. Given that she is a one person show running it as well as a full-time engineer, the business is growing fast for a one-person show.


For those interested in shopping at Santora Street Marketplace, you can visit at the website santorastreet.com.


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