COPPERAS COVE — Nearly 200 to 300 people stopped at Ogletree Gap in Copperas Cove on Saturday to purchase goods or services offered by some of Copperas Cove’s younger entrepreneurs. The business owners ranged in age from 6 to 15 and sold things like cookies, jewelry, toys, balloon art, and curb painting.
Copperas Cove Chamber and Visitors Bureau President Silvia Spiers said Saturday’s event, the first of its kind at Copperas Cove, was a success.
“These kids have exceeded, I think, their expected sales,” Spiers said Saturday afternoon. “Some of them no longer have any physical product; they’re actually just taking pre-orders right now.”
One of the young entrepreneurs who had sold most of his shares was Za’Corey Banks, owner of How the Cookie Crumbles.
“I’m always in the kitchen with my mom,” Banks said of her reasons for starting her cookie business.
Banks, a 9-year-old fourth grader, explained that he has been baking with his mom for five years. He said that he plans to continue his passion for making cookies in the future.
“I like to bake and I want to keep it that way,” she said.
Banks also explained that the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Corporation taught him about pricing and how to set prices based on the ingredients he used.
Taking the market as a networking opportunity, 15-year-old sophomore Trayden August, owner of Kaleo’s Curb Appeal, visited each vendor offering his services.
“A lot of them have handwritten signs, so they are a bit big and bulky,” August said. “So I was offering them a slimmer, custom-painted sign. I thought it would help them advertise their business as well as help me advertise mine. So I think it’s a win-win situation.”
August explained that he only uses spray paint and that none of his work will have brush strokes.
In addition to selling their wares, the young entrepreneurs competed for a scholarship and a free vendor spot at Rabbit Fest in May.
Spiers noted that the top three companies would receive scholarships of $300, $200 and $100, successively. The top two would also win a vendor position at Rabbit Fest.
Aretha Williams, a youth workforce specialist with Workforce Solutions of Central Texas, was one of the three judges and explained what she and the other judges were looking for.
“We’re looking for originality, one, but we’re also looking to see if they know what they’re doing and if they’re really trying to inspire themselves and other people and see what their plan is after the event going forward,” Williams. said.
They also tried young local vendors Les Ledger, a business professor at Central Texas College in Killeen, and Shawn Alzona, a Copperas Cove city councilman.
The companies and owners present at the market on Saturday were:
- Inspired by Riley — Riley Tomblin
- Kaleo Sidewalk Appeals – Trayden August
- ShayMayzing’s BalloonsRUs — Sharayah Sundwall
- A Little Bit of Something – Haylee Shumaker
- Fun Flasher — Cassy Poteet
- Ben’s Stuff Galore — Ben Cunningham
- How Cookie Crumbles — Za’Corey Banks