Event promotes downtown businesses


Staff Writer

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Station Square will be hosting an inaugural event designed to showcase the mix of small businesses in the area.

More than 20 vendors are expected to participate in the Station Square Pop Up Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Station Square on South Church Street. The event is being hosted by Muttley Crew and Trax Coffee Bar.

Nick Hoxsey, manager of Trax Coffee Bar, said the purpose of the event is to try to help drive traffic to downtown Rocky Mount and give the businesses there a little exposure to help them get ahead.

“We’re trying to do something to help with the revitalization of downtown,” Hoxsey said. “This is something that we’re hoping that we can do once a month on a Saturday. With these vendors coming, a lot of them are online businesses and some of them are run by single moms. This is how they make their money, and some places charge so much for space. We’re offering this for free, and this won’t only help us, but them as well.”

One of the vendors that will be involved at the Station Square Pop Up Market will be the N.C. Wesleyan College’s Young Entrepreneurs Academy, which is an ongoing local program that provides students with tools to help start up their own enterprises.

Leah Easterlin, program director for the YEA! program and Eastern N.C. Center for Business and Entrepreneurship at Wesleyan, said the local YEA! program will be having its annual Trade Show event during the Pop Up Market. It will allow student participants an opportunity to talk about their businesses to community members coming to the Pop Up Market.

Easterlin said one of the students who will be involved in the Trade Show will be Danielle Clark, a Rocky Mount Prep student, who was one of 70 students nationally selected to compete in the YEA! Saunders Scholars Competition in New York. Clark’s business, called Home of the Heart, is designed to serve children with Down syndrome.

“They’re going to have poster boards up, business cards and they’re going to get a great amount of exposure and experience,” Easterlin said. “They’re going to be looking for feedback and connections. It’s a really great exercise for them to learn how to network in the community in a way that produces viable results. Also, they get to see other business vendor tables and what to expect as future entrepeneurs.”

Easterlin added she and YEA! program instructor Reggie Bass, who teaches entrepreneurship at Tarboro High School, recently attended different workshops at the regional competition in New York that helped them understand what it takes to create a stronger recruitment strategy to bring more students into the program.

“We also want to use our time at the Station Square Pop Up Market as a way of laying the groundwork for recruiting new students and participants for next year’s YEA! program,” Easterlin said. “By piggy backing off a community event, it allows for a program that’s in this stage of development to gain a lot of traction.”