JANS – Young entrepreneurs did more than simply show off their wares at City Plaza in South Jackson April 22, 2023. They finished the day with cash in hand and plenty of encouragement from shoppers participating in the Choose to Grow Market Day, a joint effort of more than 30 students from Blackburn, Brinkley and Powell middle schools in Jackson, In His Steps Ministries in Canton, and Milam Elementary in Tupelo.
Student vendors were responsible for setting up the displays, as well as pitching their products to potential buyers. With assistance from mentors, students designed and created the following products: bracelets, hair bows, decorative photo frames, action figures, aprons, lip balm, hot wing sauce, book marks, bird houses, bird feeders, pens that pop, artwork, and more.
And if you think shoppers were the only ones who pulled out of the parking lot happy with their steals, think again! Each student left with profits of $100 to more than $600.
“It was an amazing and successful day,” commented Dr. Juanita Sims Doty, a lead organizer of the event.
A charter bus full of family members affected by recent storms in Rolling Fork also attended Market Day. But the young visitors did more than walk around the grounds. Without prompting, they helped the young entrepreneurs sell their creations. In return, they received 10% of the Choose to Grow Market Day sales. The Delta families also received needed personal items, sturdy totes, and an equal share of $3,000 in Walmart gift cards to purchase other items.
Senator John Horhn provided fresh Delta farm-raised fried catfish for the families and students. The Beta Alpha Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity grilled hotdogs and hamburgers. Line dancing was led by Aaron Honeysuckle with music by DJ Educator.
Other Market Day and storm relief sponsors included the Juanita Sims Doty Foundation, the National PanHellenic Council of Metro Jackson, Jack and Jill of America-Jackson (MS) Chapter, MDHS, Renasant Bank, MS Conference of the United Methodist Church, Wesley United Methodist Church of Greenwood, and Women For Progress of Mississippi.