Young entrepreneurs have fun at Farmers Market

DOVER — The young entrepreneurs who set up their wares at the Capital City Farmers Market were as diverse as the products they had made to sell.

In fact, all of those participating in Kids’ Market Day at Loockerman Plaza on a steamy Wednesday had a couple of things in mind — learn some valuable lessons on what it takes to run a successful small business and make a tidy profit while doing so.

That’s exactly what the Downtown Dover Partnership (DDP) had in mind when they gave young entrepreneurs ages 18 and younger the chance to sell products that are handmade, hand-grown, hand-crafted or hand-produced their own corner of the market for the day. Products purchased from or made by a third-party source were not permitted.

“It’s very exciting. This is the future of small business right here,” said Tina Bradbury, operations manager for the DDP. “It’s great to see their vibrance and their creativity and we’re happy to support these young entrepreneurs as they move forward in possibly creating their career path as being a small business owner.

“We need more small businesses to support the community and they get to learn about what we do downtown in having various types of businesses that operate in the downtown corridor.”

Fifteen young entrepreneurs — the majority between the ages of 8 and 12 — participated in Kids’ Market Day on Wednesday, selling everything from homemade lemonade, cookies, cupcakes, garden fresh veggies, rice cakes, detox water, scrunchies, bracelets, bird feeders, inspirational rocks, fidget rings, gluten-free goodies, slime, homemade jewelry, freeze-dried fruit and bite-sized sweets from their tables.

This is the second consecutive year the DDP has hosted this type of event at the Capital City Farmers Market. It will have another one on Aug. 7.

The kids’ event runs in conjunction with the regular farmers market that takes place at Loockerman Plaza every Wednesday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. from June 19 to Oct. 20, with its wife array of fresh vegetable offerings, artisans, food trucks and musicians.

Alexis Huttie’s children, Cooper and Audrey, participated in last year’s Kids’ Market Day with their family-oriented business called “Cooper’s Crispy Treats” and couldn’t wait to return to the market. She said it’s a very educational — and fun — event for the children.

Adrian, left, and Isabella Floria.

“As part of their business plan they made the logo for their shirts, decided what they wanted to sell and the names of the treats and things like that,” Mrs. Huttie said. “We kind of named the treats after our family and things that are important to them (Cooper and Audrey). We made the treats in our kitchen and, trust me, our kitchen is perfectly clean (with a laugh).

“We also talk about the importance of things that need to be labeled today, like these treats are made with nuts or without, especially with all of the allergies nowadays. I’ve been asked probably every week since last year (by my kids), ‘When are we going to do it again? When are we going to do it again?”

Casey McElwee, of Dover, was a one-guy operation. Not only did he create all the goods that he sold, the incoming sixth grader was the one doing the selling — fidget spirals for $3 apiece and fidget rings for $2.

“I’m selling fidget rings and fidget spirals,” he said. “These (spirals) can fit in your pockets so nobody can tell you to put them away. You can fit the fidget rings on your finger so you can fiddle with the beads if you need to. I’d be happy to sell them to anyone who would like to buy them.

“I enjoy making them. I made every single one of these. I have 90 something fidget rings and 50 fidget spirals.”
Right next door to the “Fidget Co.,” Hartly’s Zoey Slater was selling some unique products of her own at the “Lil’ Momma’s All-Natural” booth.

“I sell organic bird feeders that I make with cookie cutters and organic gelatin and me and my father made the water (bird feeders) that you can put fruit or birdseed in,” she said. “I think they’ll do pretty well at the farmer’s market.”

She even had a sales assistant.
“I’m excited to get the chance to help sell (the birdfeeders),” Reagan Bartsch, her friend, said enthusiastically.

Kylie Forrest, of Felton, was operating her “Summer Bands” business for a cause that is close to her heart. She regularly serves as a volunteer at the Capital City Farmers Market.
“We’re selling scrunchies, beaded bracelets and string bracelets – we’re making custom beaded bracelets also – and we’re putting part of the proceeds towards the animal shelter called ‘2nd Chance Fur-Babies Animal Rescue’ in Harrington,” Ms. Forrest said. “This is my first time ever being a business owner. There’s a little bit of everything out here.”

Makayla Walker, of Smyrna, said she was trying to follow in his mother’s footsteps with her “Kaymazing Slime” display.
Her mother, Monique Walker, owner of Sweets & Treats, opened her shop full of yummy treats at 147 S. Governors Avenue in May. She previously operated a kiosk at the Christiana Mall where she sold out of inventory most weekends.

“I’m selling slime,” Makayla Walker said. “I think people should buy it because it’s fun to play with. My mom opened her own store and that made me want to try to be a business owner as well.”
Camden’s Maxwell Viddy, who was running the Camden JCM Smoothies stand with two of his friends, had one of the more popular products on Wednesday as the temperatures reached up to the mid-90s in downtown Dover.

“We’re making fruit, tropical and berry smoothies,” he said. “They taste very good. They’re sweet and cold. It’s cool being a part of our own business.”

The hands-on experience was one of the things that Ms. Bradbury was most impressed with from the DDP’s group of young entrepreneurs, who each received a small business certificate hand-delivered from Mayor Robin Christiansen.

“It’s a great variety and most of the kids have done most of the work themselves, with some help from their parents, but they’re here and they’ve already got some ideas of what they want to do with their profits,” said Ms. Bradbury. “It’s neat to see them actually follow the steps toward starting their own businesses and it was nice to see them actually follow through with everything.

“Every one of their businesses was pretty amazing to see and it was a pleasure having them at the market.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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