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August 18, 2016 • Headline News
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No ‘small’ business

Mini-marketers learn more than just about selling products

Sandy Day Howard

Putting a different twist on the typical ‘farmers market’ Saturday, Versailles kids were running the show! One side of the square was bustling last weekend with miniature entrepreneurs at the helm of the many small stands that lined the front of the town’s courthouse annex. Truckloads of yellow ears of corn, cantaloupe and melons, handcrafted jewelry and wooden creations, ripe red tomatoes, beans and fresh flowers were overshadowed by the bustling of the small business owners. . . the really SMALL business owners who came to trade their wares.

Among the business savvy that morning were Martha and Annie Stoltzfus whose booth was bursting with fresh garden items including tomatoes, cabbages, beans, celery and more. The two girls, daughters of Jesse and Annie Stoltzfus of south Versailles, were radiant as they busily rang up totals and bagged the purchased produce for the many customers who visited their stand near the building of The Versailles Lions Club. Martha and Annie are two of 11 children who help with the planting and harvesting on their family farm. The children then take turns coming to the regular Saturday Farmer’s Market, vending their products with care. “It’s a family project!” Martha proclaimed. When asked what part of their business they enjoyed the most, Annie quickly replied, “We like it all!” The girls were radiant yet humble as they politely served their many customers, greeting each with a beautiful smile. Profits from the morning would go back into the family business.

Josie Meyer and Kaylie RaberSANDY DAY HOWARD PHOTO
Josie Meyer and Kaylie Raber donated half of their profits to help a teacher friend who has cancer.

Josie Meyer and Kaylie Raber are 10-year-old businesswomen who were serious about their work. The girls are the daughters of Doug and Cortney (Stegner) Meyer and Jeremy and Charrel Raber of Batesville who enlisted the help of Josie’s ‘Grandpa Pete’ to set up their booth

The industrialists spent several hours creating unique merchandise such as ornaments, bows, and shaped birdseed hangers that were not only reasonably priced, but beautifully crafted. As a token to Josie’s brother, Carson, the business partners allowed him to consign his handmade marble tic tac toe boards at their stand. With the help of a low interest small business loan from their parents, the girls were able to purchase enough product to manufacture their inspiring works of artistic genius.

After spending several hours on Pinterest, a popular website, Josie said she found just the right inspiration. “We looked at some of the ideas and decided to make the ornaments to help our friend.” Their friend? Jessica Weidemann, a young teacher at East Central High School and mother of two small children who is battling cancer. Fifty percent of the profits made from Saturday’s sales will be donated to help save Jessica’s life. The purpose throughout the planning, preparation, and vending of ”J K Treasures” was to benefit someone else.

Charlie Gardner

These three dogs affected Charlie Gardner’s sales; he was too distracted by the cute dogs to man the booth!

Then there was 6-year-old Charlie Gardner who leaped into the free enterprise system early Saturday morning. The son of Greg and Lydia Gardner of Versailles, the outspoken entrepreneur set up his fresh vegetable stand marketing tomatoes, sunflowers, and other vegetables raised by his dad and grandfather, Bob Strubbe. As it happened, most of Charlie’s morning was occupied with three dachsunds belonging to Lainie Everage as he became distracted by the barking threesome while on the job. Charlie knew lots about the products in his charge.

“Fresh vegetables are better for you than cooked!” stated the pint sized CEO.( And so goes the theory that the under 8 crowd needs constant nutritional guidance! ) Owning and operating a business is no easy task and disappointment often accompanies the ‘fruits of your labor’ as the budding businessman learned.

After abandoning his post in favor of the irresistibly cute canines, Charlie’s profits plummeted as only Grandpa Bob was left to deal with the 9:00 rush. Total sales were low, but he was able to buy the next level of “Minecraft Story Mode”with his proceeds. In regard to what the curly headed cutie learned about running a business that morning, Charlie’s mom thinks “Staying focused” was his most important discovery , in regard to profiting from hard work. Although Charlie didn’t grow and harvest his own product, he was dedicated (initially) to buying and selling. Personality and sales ability are most important, but at 6 years old it’s easy to become distracted….especially if puppies are involved! .

There is a lot to be absorbed about the world of business long after the market has closed. Kids little minds are constantly turning and learning and growing. There are lessons to be learned for big people too. Profit doesn’t always come in the form of monetary earnings as these pint sized CEOs learned on Saturday. Each of these 5 beautiful hearts profited in different ways. Learning dedication and respect of family, doing for others instead of for yourself, and the love of puppies are childhood lessons we can only hope that each of our children learn. And that’s no small business.
The Farmer’s Market is open on the courthouse square each Saturday at 9 a.m.

Local Bulletin Board

August 24
Southeastern Career Center open house, college fair and chili supper

The Southeastern Career Center will be hosting a combination Open House, College & Career Fair, and Chili Supper on Wednesday, Aug. 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. Current SCC students and parents are invited and encouraged to attend. Read more on page 2 of The Versailles Republican dated August 11.

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