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Big Chuck

May 5, 2014

Laurens mall was no mere child's play

Shop local. And shop often.

I did some local shopping last weekend. In Laurens. At the new mall.

Let me explain.

Laurens Central School became the latest area school district to employ a Young Entrepreneurs Day. It was excellent. Students representing classes from third to eighth grades opened up a “shopping mall” inside the school gym on Sunday. What an experience for these young businessmen and businesswomen of the future.

“It really was exciting for them,” Ramona Wenck, school superintendent, told me. “Each child came up with their own product to sell. They then had to research it, produce the item by themselves and learn the basic tenets of business like marketing, money-handling, advertising, promotion and cost analysis. And this was all on a volunteer basis. They did not have to do this if they chose not to. They did their prep work on their own time after school. They really got into it. And you can see by the wide array of booths that there really is a little bit of something for everybody here.”

I am a notorious non-shopper, as my wife knows, but I was determined to make several purchases from these future W.T. Grants and Martha Stewarts. I perused the Bracelet Boutique and made a pit stop at Amanda’s Brownies for some nourishment. I liked her business slogan (“There’s love; and then there’s brownies”). Elias Poling (age 9) was next door manning his Elias’ Sweet Tooth stand selling truffles (“They’re like a ball of chocolate that’s flavored and stuff,” I was told). Food booths seemed especially busy at the Laurens Mall this day.

My first purchase was a handsome bluebird bird house at young Brock Manning’s booth. He personally signed his handcrafted piece for me. At $15, I felt I got a good deal. My wife came around the bend with a giant Tootsie Roll Pop bouquet of “flowers” from 11-year-old Kaleb Sonnenberg’s Kool Candies kiosk. Sensing this would be a good time to make a Mother’s Day purchase, I bought Trish a beautiful pair of paper origami earrings made by Jacob Lyons. “I have been doing origami most of my life,” the businessman told me. He is 13.

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