Copperas Cove EDC holds first quarterly #ShopCove Pop Up Market and #HireCove Job Fair at the Narrows
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Dozens of vendors set up along Charles Tillman Way, in the Narrows Business and Technology Park, Saturday morning for the inaugural #ShopCove quarterly pop-up market and #HireCove Job Fair hosted by the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation.
Kristina Milligan was set up at her booth for her small business, Kristi’s Gifts and Creations. Milligan found out about the pop-up market via a notification on her phone and decided to sign up.
“This kind of popped up on my phone as a notification. I read it, and I was like, I’m going to take advantage of this,” Milligan said. “It sounded good, and I’ve never been here before, and I want to step outside of my element.”
Milligan lives in Troy and said the furthest she had set up for her business prior to Saturday was at the Killeen Mall.
“I want to meet people. I want to see what other things, what other people are doing,” she added.
Kristi’s Gifts and Creations offered tumblers, keychains, carry-on sized duffle bags, mini-purses, gift baskets and stationery items.
Kristi’s Gifts and Creations was one of approximately 40 vendors who signed up for the pop-up market, which was at no-cost to vendors. Due to the high winds, some vendors packed up early, while a few others did not show at all, but overall, the pop-up market offered a unique opportunity for small businesses to sell their wares.
Local author Mattie Leonard took advantage of the pop-up market to set up a booth selling copies of her two books. Leonard authored two books based on her personal experiences.
“‘Silent Cry: My Journey Through Domestic Abuse’ is about my journey through domestic abuse, and ‘Building Me Back Brick by Brick’ is about my struggle with addiction and how I got to a point of recovery,” Leonard said. “I had ended up in jail, and I started journaling, and when I got out of jail, I thought about writing ‘Building Me Back Brick by Brick’, and when I got out, I continue to write.”
Leonard said that the lack of vendor fees made the event really appealing.
“It’s a blessing that they allowed us to come out here on our own resources,” Leonard said.
Leonard’s books are available online through Amazon, Walmart and Barnes and Noble, as well as Google Play. She also has her own website: www.mattieleonard.com
Diane Drussell, assistant director of the Copperas Cove EDC, said that the #ShopCove Pop-Up Market will become a quarterly event, with the next one scheduled for August and then again in November, on Shop Small Business Saturday.
Drussell added that the next market will likely have a small fee for vendors to help the EDC recoup costs and allow for providing a portable toilet for attendees to use.
“It’s about getting these small businesses exposure,” Drussell said.
The Job Fair part of the event featured representatives from the Texas Workforce Commission office out of Lampasas in addition to the EDC’s Workforce Development Specialist, Brittany Sanders. She also represented the City of Copperas Cove and Copperas Cove Independent School District, large entities in the city that have open positions.
“We decided to start incorporating the #HireCove job fair to it, so that we can kind of be the hub for Copperas Cove,” Drussell said. “We go through town, and we see a lot of people looking for employees.”
As the Workforce Development Specialist, Sanders has been going around to these different businesses and working with them to try to connect them with job seekers and spread the word about their open positions.
“If you can’t, as an employer, make it out here even though it’s free to come, we can at least represent you and share your information with others and let them know that you’re hiring, and this is how you contact,” Drussell said.
There is a new Facebook group that was created to further connect business owners/employers with potential employees/job seekers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/937830250837858/.