DESOTO (CBSDFW.COM) – In DeSoto, what could have been an eyesore has turned into an opportunity. ​

When a hardware store closed, city leaders filled the empty space with a vibrant new market offering unique shopping and restaurant options, while also growing small businesses.

It’s called the ‘Grow DeSoto Marketplace’.​

“It’s been great,” says Thai Binh Ho, owner of Pho Thai Binh. “It’s been great for me, because I think I’m a little bit unique because of my food I offer and because I’m probably the only one in DeSoto with this type of food. Asian, Vietnamese, Pho, Thai — I got a little mix of everything.”​

And so does the Grow DeSoto Marketplace. From fresh, healthy foods, to furniture, fitness and holistic lifestyle support.​

“They think it’s a grocery store,” shares Kira Buckley with a laugh. She’s part owner of Heyy Healer. ​

The small business offers everything from yoga to custom blended herbs and teas. ​

“The ‘Grow DeSoto Marketplace’ as a whole is just a village of awesome entrepreneurs who have a heart to serve the community,” says Buckley, “so we’d love for you to come inside and see all the friendly faces.”​

She says she and her business partner’s presence in the market reflects a belief that the community needs nudging toward more self care.​

“Making therapeutic, integrative medicine affordable,” says Buckley, “making it accessible: this is not just a luxury, it’s a lifestyle. Holistic lifestyle.”​

The ‘Grow DeSoto Marketplace’ is still growing; signs throughout advertise businesses that are preparing to open. Current tenants say the effort also makes it easier for small businesses to get started.​

“It’s ideal because you don’t have to start out with a big capital to build your own space up,” says Ho. “Your hood’s already built it in, just bring in supplies, get your license, get your food permit, you’re up and running within a week!” When asked if the experience has been good for him– he quickly replied, “It’s been great. I’m blessed. I’m truly blessed.” ​

In addition to retail and restaurant options, the Marketplace is also designed as a community gathering spot.

On Sunday, from 1-3 p.m., students from DeSoto ISD will entertain visitors with a dance, art and poetry showcase. The community is invited.​