OSCAR’s Market debuts at Ogletree Gap

By BRITTANY FHOLER
Cove Leader-Press 

Several young entrepreneurs set up their businesses at the inaugural OSCAR’s Market, hosted by the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce at Ogletree Gap Park Saturday. 
OSCAR stands for Operation Student and Community Advocate Readiness, and OSCAR’s Market served as an opportunity for local children ages 17 and under to establish a business and set up shop in a farmer’s market vendor style setting. The focus was solely on these kids, who made their own business plans, executed them and made a profit. 
One business was How the Cookie Crumbles, founded by 9-year-old Za’Corey Banks. He and his brother, Khameron, 11, worked together to man the table, selling packaged, pre-measured cookie mixes for $12, sprinkle mixes for $2 and their Ultimate Cookie Kit, which came with a package of cookie mix, sprinkle mix, cookie spatula, cookie dough scoop and oven mitt for $35. They also offered individually bagged cookie samples for free, in four flavors: Chocolate Overload, Sugar Zensation, The Classic (Chocolate Chip) and the very popular Banana Pudding. 
Za’Corey said that the best seller of the day was the banana pudding cookie mix. 
They came up with the idea for this flavor because of how popular banana pudding is as a dessert, said Khameron. 
The brothers said that they enjoyed being able to set up and sell their products to the community. 
How the Cookie Crumbles can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HTCCCTX/.
Another young entrepreneur was Riley Tomblin, who owns Inspired by Riley and sells earrings and bracelets and other jewelry items. Tomblin, 11, said she has spent months making her jewelry in anticipation of this event. She started her business as a way to spark inspiration in adults and children alike, she said. 
“I mainly just wanted to spread something inspirational to adults and kids that really want to be uplifted and feel better about themselves,” Tomblin said. “Also, I got my inspiration because some of my friends tried to give up, and I tried to let them not do that.”
Some of Tomblin’s earrings featured words like, “Brave” and other inspirational messaging. 
Tomblin’s mother, Stacy Tomblin-Weaver, said she was so proud of her daughter. 
“She’s worked so hard just every step of the way, learning how to develop a business plan, learning how to promote her business,” Tomblin-Weaver said. “Just the idea alone, I’m very proud of- just wanting to be inspiration to other kids. What more can you ask for? A beautiful idea from a beautiful young lady.”
Tomblin said she plans on reinvesting her profits from Saturday’s event back into her business to make more jewelry. 
A Little of Something offered refreshing beverages, including lemonade with real fruit puree added in, for just $2 a cup. Haylee Shumaker, 9, worked hard making each cup of lemonade for her customers. Shumaker is a fourth grader at House Creek Elementary School, and she plans to have a lemonade stand on Lemonade Day next month at the convenience store next to her school. Saturday’s event served as great practice for her ahead of that event. 
Her dad, Thad Shumaker, said that Haylee has worked hard on her lemonade business and even woke up early Saturday morning to prepare for the market. 
Other entrepreneurs at Saturday’s Oscar’s Market included:
Kaleo’s Curb Appeals (curb address painting)
ShayMayzing’s BalloonsRUs (balloon figures)
Fun Flasher (selling pop-its, stuffed animals and other toys)
Ben’s Things Galore (selling keychains and straw toppers)
Chamber of Commerce President Sylvia Spires said that the young entrepreneurs were also competing for a scholarship and a free vendor spot in the upcoming Rabbit Fest next month. 
First place and the prize of $300 went to Inspired by Riley. Second place and the prize of $200 went to How the Cookie Crumbles. Third place and the prize of $100 went to Kaleo’s Curb Appeals. 
The kids were judged by three judges: Aretha Williams, with the Workforce Solutions of Central Texas, Les Ledger from Central Texas College and Copperas Cove Councilmember Shawn Alzona. 
Spires said that the inaugural youth business farmer’s market symbolized progress for Copperas Cove. 
“Our mission this past year has been really growth for the community, not just as a Chamber, not just memberships, not just mixers,” Spires said. “We’re focused on growth for our entire community. We started with the kids because they really need the most attention. You know, with COVID kind of dwindling back, kids just don’t know where to start, where to go, what to do. We’re hoping that giving them this avenue to pursue their passion gets them started, so that when things pick back up, they still have a passion that they can pursue during that time.”
Spires said that the Chamber wanted the focus to be on the children’s businesses and for the event to be a family friendly event. There were no other vendors to compete with the young entrepreneurs, and the only businesses set up at this market were the kids’ businesses. The event also featured bounce houses and laser tag and other family activities. 
The vendors ranged in ages from 9 years old to 16 years old. The day proved to be very successful for the businesses as well, with some nearly selling out just two hours into the event. The event lasted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

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