June 20, 2024

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Jack Krieble, right, and Jacob Barash, left, will be selling homemade pickle varietals at the market.
Ben Bialas, right, and his older brother Jackson Bialas, left, are selling their t-shirts and lanterns at the market.
WEST HARTFORD — The youngest entrepreneurs from around the area will be selling their wares at the Pop-Up Kids Market in Blue Back Square on Oct. 15.
West Hartford moms Elyse Fox and Laura Barash are organizing the market for the second time — the first was in 2020 right before the pandemic — and are excited about putting creative youth on display.
“It was so successful,” Fox said about the first market, which featured over 70 vendors. “We had about 2,000 people come through. The kids made a lot of money.”
Many of the sellers actually sold out of their products, which led them to begin shopping and supporting their fellow entrepreneurs, Barash said. 
“It inspired a lot of kids to do it this time,” Barash said. “A lot of people approached us after about when we were doing the next time. There was so much enthusiasm from the community. People were so excited and they were very supportive.”
Jack Krieble and his friend Jacob Barash are both 15-year-old students at Kingswood Oxford who will be participating in this year’s market. The two of them landed on making their own varieties of pickles. 
“I knew I wanted to participate in the market, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to sell,” said Jacob Barash, who participated in the first market two years ago. “Pickles just kind of came up and we went with it.”
“They’re fairly unique,” Krieble said. “I had only tried normal pickles, so it was fun to make spicy or red onion pickles for people who wanted to try them.”
Jacob Barash said that selling mocktails in the first market was a great experience, which is why he wanted to return now. 
“It was definitely a good experience planning out everything and how much we needed of each different thing,” he said. “We actually ran out of one of the main ingredients in the middle of it, so we resorted to selling different mocktails. It’s a great opportunity to see what it’s like without really having to put so much into it or taking a big risk.” 
Ben Bialas, 7, and his older brother Jackson Bialas, 10, will also be appearing at the market. Ben worked with his grandfather to craft wood lanterns while Jackson will be offering his handmade tie-dye shirts — each with a video game controller logo printed on them. He wanted to combine two things he loved in his product.
“I made tie-dye at camp one day and I really liked it,” he said. “I really like gaming too. I made the business because I really like making tie-dye.”
To make his business run, he had to go out and buy shirts and materials to turn them into tie-dye shirts. He used a heat press to put the logo on. So far, he’s made around 50 shirts in all different sizes.
“I just really liked selling and talking to people,” Jackson said about his first market experience.
The four boys are examples of the kinds of creativity Fox and Laura Barash said will be on display at the market. There will be everything from natural homemade pet treats to skin care products to heating pads for sale. The two moms suggest everyone bring cash, because not every young seller is set up to take credit cards, though some have adopted that technology.
“They’re really coming up with some creative things,” Fox said about the market’s participants, who range in age from 7 to 18.
Their hope, the two said, is that young people become empowered to start their own small businesses, which they can learn from whether they succeed or need to go back to the drawing board.
“It prompts kids to start a business and from here, ideally, continue on,” Laura Barash said. “I think that’s what happened after the last market.”
“We hope from here they get this spark where they figure out what they like to do,” Fox said. “There’s this huge amount of connection at the market. This is such a nice way to celebrate each other and be around one another.”
The market will be held outside in Blue Back Square on Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A rain date has been set for Oct. 16 for the same time. More information about the market is available online.

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