The Rise & Shine Market, a youth entrepreneur market, held at the Stuart Farmers’ Market on July 8 was deemed a success, Patrick County 4-H agent Leigh Ann Hazelwood said.
To participate in the event, Hazelwood said all of the vendors registered and completed a business template by the day of the market. “They have to come up with a business plan for their booth, name it, and they have to talk about their materials and the cost,” she said.
Vendors also had to pay a $5 booth fee per market they participated in.
Hazelwood said the vendors also had to follow the Farmers’ Market rules just like the adult vendors. “Everything has to be homemade or homegrown,” she said.
When the market first started, it was only open for 4-H children aged 9-18.
“What we found was that we had a lot of interest from the Clover Bud kids, which is like the younger aged kids t
hat 4-H works with. So, we’ve actually let them participate and we’ve had a huge success with that with the younger kids,” she said.
While the youngsters operated their respective booths, Hazelwood said their parents were on-site in case they were needed.
“Parents will hang out and if they need help counting money. If they get sort of flustered or frustrated, typically we ask the parents to step away and let the kids figure it out on their own,” she said.
Hazelwood said participating in the market allows children to interact with customers and improve their social skills and independence skills.
Towards the end of the market, Hazelwood said she talked to each vendor to see what worked, what they would change for future markets, and get information about the overall experience.
The market started five years ago, a creation of the AIR Patrick County program, Hazelwood said, and explained how many business-minded and creative-minded people came together for three days of training and presented ideas for a potential grant through that program.
“Rise of Shine was one of the dreams that came out of that program, and we had some grant funding to start up,” she said.
Originally, the Rise & Shine Market was a stand-alone market held three Saturdays a year. However, Hazelwood said as there was a change, and the group started working with the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Stuart to hold the market in conjunction with the weekly Farmers’ Markets in June and July
The first year the market was held, Hazelwood estimated 25 youthful vendors set-up at each market.
“It was wonderful, the first couple of years, and then we saw, especially with COVID, that sort of affected our numbers,” she said.
“This has been widely successful,” she said.
Hazelwood added the Rise & Shine Market also plans to be part of the Hometown Christmas event, set for Saturday, December 3 at Stuart Elementary School.