The second annual Acton Children’s Business Fair was held on June 25 in the parking area next to Pike County Licensing and the Wayne Bank - and it was bigger and better than last year.
There were 38 vendors, all 6 to 15 years of age and each with a booth selling wares that they made. The titan behind the event is Alyssa Verdi, who is also the head of the Ascent Acton Academy in Milford, a progressive school where children learn to be creative and to learn by doing.
This idea of learner-driven activities was on full display. The young entrepreneurs decided on their product which then they produced, marketed, developed a business plan (profit and loss)for, and created their own booth decorations and logos.
Although it was hot day, there were more than 300 people who came to check out the fair, many of whom brought their own children who now want to sign up for next year. This year, the fair was populated mostly by Acton students, but they do expect many more public-school students to join. Despite the heat, the vendors were seriously involved in their businesses, projecting a strong sense and knowledge of their products, a strong desire to sell, and an abundance of cuteness.
Selling their wares
Naryn Timpone, 7, sold pretzels covered in chocolate or strawberry icing. She proudly displayed her huge, pink plastic cash register and the well-wrapped pretzels and bags for them. Her smile lit up her tent, demonstrating that she was really proud of her booth.
Andrew Budd, 8, a very earnest and involved writer/ artist, was selling comic books he had created. He proudly read them aloud. Budd, who wants to be a comic book creator when he grows up, is learning some serious business skills, as his enthusiasm for his products was what that sold them.
Rocco Paradiso and his sister, Bella, baked cookies and other products for their “Sweet Treats” business.
“We love to bake,” Paradiso said, adding that he wants to become and entrepreneur when he gets older. “I want to make weapons for the military.”
Matthew Budd, 7, left his booth to ask a woman if she was stressed. When she said she was, he led her back to his booth and sold her one of his hand-made stress balls.
Everett Geno, 7, said he got his recipe for hand-made ice-cream from the internet. Many off his fellow vendors came over to buy his product.
Judging the products
There were three judges for each group of vendors - the 6 to 8-year-olds and the 9 to 15-year-olds. The judges for the older group were Deb Fischer, Magisterial District Judge and owner of Pike County Licensing; Joe McNeely of Weichert Realty and Rufino Real Estate; and TC Crawford of Action Bikes and Outdoors. Natalie Menosky, owner of the Milford Tree House, Marisa Walsh, and Denise Fretta judged for the younger group.
“What you see all around you are upcoming critical thinkers actually talking money and finance,“ Fischer said.
“We never had something like this when we were growing up. It will really help them in the future,” McNeely added. “Crawford was very impressed by the creativity of the kids. The creativity I see today is beyond anything I could have imagined–the way the handle themselves, eye contact, presentation skills. It speaks of a very bright future.”
The judges rated the vendors in each group on Creativity/Innovation, Presentation/Customer Engagement, Independence/ Command of Business, and Business Potential.
The fair was a great learning experience for everyone involved.
“This is a type of learning that many adults never got the chance to experience,” Verdi said. “It’s a blessing to be able to offer this to the community. We appreciate all the support that we received.”