Second-generation entrepreneur Julia Tarka has worked her way from summer jobs in Edgartown shops and restaurants to running three family establishments of her own, while taking on a leadership role in the town and Islandwide business communities.

First, in 2015, came Rosewater Market & Take Away on Summer street, followed two years later by Rosewater Wine & Spirits, on Main street, a seasonal package store and market managed by her husband Zach Tarka.

The couple’s first child, Theodora, was born in late 2018 and last summer the family opened a baby and children’s shop, Rosebud Kids, on Summer street just a few steps from Rosewater Market.

“We definitely were inspired by our own lives for every one of the businesses,” Ms. Tarka told the Gazette by phone this week, as her four-month-old son Zach gurgled in the background.

Originally from the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, Ohio, Ms. Tarka said Rosewater reflects her years of food service training.

“I grew up doing traditional dinner service. That’s where I learned to love restaurants — working for an incredible family back home in Ohio,” she said.

The pandemic has spurred Ms. Tarka to become even more active in Island business affairs. — Jeanna Shepard

On the Vineyard, she worked at former airport eatery Flatbread, rising over several seasons from wait staff to management with Tina Miller, who would join the team that launched Rosewater Market. The package store allows the Tarkas to share their appreciation for cocktails, good wines and entertaining, and Rosebud Kids expresses the playful and educational sides of parenting small children.

But due to the pandemic, only Rosewater Wine & Spirits is currently open, for pickup and delivery of beverages and other provisions.

“We closed the market 10 weeks ago, and it was really hard,” said Ms. Tarka, who misses the daily contact with regular year-round customers.

“It is a real joy to feed people,” she said.

While Rosebud Kids remains closed, Ms. Tarka has opened an online store where parents and gift-givers can shop for clothes, toys and books.

“I am disappointed we won’t get to present what we have worked on . . . to our customers,” she said of the children’s shop. “But I’m confident that we’ll find a different way to interact with our guests.” Ms. Tarka said she will keep her year-round workers employed, with plans to offer more groceries and some prepared foods for pickup and delivery through the website

The pandemic also has spurred Ms. Tarka, who serves on the Edgartown Board of Trade as well as the town historic district commission and sign committee, to band together this month with other business groups and proprietors in an all-Island business task Force. The group is calling for a unified set of pandemic policies and messages for all six Martha’s Vineyard towns.

“It became really clear that the Island needed a unified message for residents and visitors alike,” she said.

“This is an opportunity for the Island to work together in a way it doesn’t usually . . . Some sort of universal, Islandwide conversation seemed like it was missing.” The task force has asked for a summit meeting with Island officials.

Ms. Tarka also is involved in an effort to bring an outdoor food market to downtown Edgartown this season, to ease the stress of shopping for groceries.

“We are working with the West Tisbury Farmers’ Market, who have developed a wonderful model for the Agricultural Society [fairgrounds],” she said. “We will be presenting it to the selectmen on Tuesday.”

In addition to running her shops, volunteering for the town and serving on the board of trade, Ms. Tarka worked with her father and business partner, Christopher Celeste, on his plans for the conversion of the long-vacant Yellow House on Main street, where Mr. Celeste and Conover Restorations are completing a $3 million renovation.

“I was initially involved in the project and drawing the plans,” she said. Mr. Celeste also owns the Dairy Queen on Upper Main street.

The family’s journey from Shaker Heights to Edgartown runs through West Tisbury, where a young Ms. Tarka spent summers at the home of her godparents, going to theatre camp first at Island Theatre Workshop and in later years Imp Camp.

“Then I never left,” said Ms. Tarka, who credits her improvisational-theatre workshops with a phrase and concept that she uses to this day.

“Yes, and . . . is probably the biggest life skill that I learned from theatre camp,” she said.

In the food business, “yes, and” has meant listening to customers and adjusting her own expectations accordingly. When Rosewater Market opened five years ago, for instance, many of its offerings were different from what customers have come to expect.

“We carried spices and canned goods, because we thought that there might be a need,” Ms. Tarka said. “The first two years we were open, we didn’t have an espresso machine.

“Over the past five years, we’ve adapted to what the community wanted and needed. It’s been a fun journey,” she said.