Youth vendor market sees great support from community

May 5, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

The Dufferin Board of Trade’s Dream Big Market at Westminster Church, featuring young entrepreneurs, saw great success over the weekend.

The youth market, which featured vendors as young as nine years old, was held on Saturday (April 30), and they sold a variety of handmade, recycled and upcycled products, including crocheting, jewelry, woodworking, pet treats, candles, crafts, and art.

There was a total of 30 vendors and roughly 150 people turned out to support youth in the community.

“For many of our young vendors, even more valuable than the sales they made on Saturday was the connections they made and the learning experience they had. Many vendors secured custom orders, lined up future work, and gained valuable followers on their social media,” said executive director of DBOT, Diana Morris.

She told the Citizen the youth who participated really enjoyed learning more about entrepreneurship and operating their own business.

“Vendors I spoke with were very pleased with the event,” she noted. “Just prior to the doors opening for the public, we held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the vendors with our MP Kyle Seeback, Orangeville Mayor Sandy Brown, and Orangeville Councillor Joe Andrews.”

After the ribbon cutting, Seeback and the Town representatives went around the room to speak with each young entrepreneur and present them with certificates, congratulating them on their business success.

DBOT also supplied each vendor with a package of information and resources to help with guide them.

“They received information from our sponsor, Georgian College, as well as info on other upcoming vendors markets, details about the Summer Company program managed by the Orangeville and area Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC), info on local youth programs happening this summer, and information on how the Dufferin Board of Trade can help them promote and grow their businesses,” Morris explained.

Upon entry to the Dream Big Market at Westminster Church, shoppers were handed a “Vendor Directory” with details on each of the young entrepreneurs’ businesses.

Morris said DBOT was able to keep costs low for vendors, offering booths at $20 each, giving them a greater opportunity to turn a profit.

Admission for shoppers was free but DBOT accepted donations for the Orangeville Food Bank. In the end, they collected two boxes of food and are making a $150 cash donation.

The idea behind the Dream Big Market is to help local young entrepreneurs start or grow their business, according to Morris.

She said the idea came from Jackie Irwin, who’s daughter Hailey operates “Hailey’s Cookies for a Cause”, which sells pet treats while fundraising for local charities.

Jackie approached DBOT to see if the organization would support her idea for a youth marketplace, and they were fully on board.  

The Dream Big Market was similar to DBOT’s Think Local Market held at Fiddle Park in Shelburne last year but with a focus on vendors under the age of 25.

“In comparison with the Think Local Market, the Dream Big Market had a smaller venue and vendor capacity, but had a huge spirit and a great turnout,” Morris noted.

She told the Citizen, based on the positive feedback DBOT’s heard about the youth market event, it’s hoping to run it annually. Morris said next year they can try to expand it to include some vendors on the lawn at Westminster Church, which would allow for more vendors to participate.

Meanwhile, in other news, DBOT is going to be focusing on the upcoming June 2 provincial election for the duration of May and will be hosting an Election Forum live on Rogers TV and online on May 18.

The DBOT’s AGM is being held virtually May 26 and in mid-June the organization will host the Dufferin’s Business Excellence Awards.

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