OTTUMWA — There were around 50 vendors available to attendees at the Home and Garden show at Bridge View this weekend. One booth — Lemonade Day — made its first appearance.
Lemonade Day is a youth entrepreneurship campaign targeting third-, fourth- and fifth-graders. Shea Greiner, vice president of engagement and organizational advancement for Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress, said the campaign first got started in Texas and made its way to more than 60 cities in America and Canada.
She heard about the campaign after attending a conference called The Mid-America Chamber Executives. “It piqued my interest so I stopped and chatted with their chamber executive [there],” she said. “He talked about how fantastic it was for their community. They had over 300 people attend, had over 45 or 60 stands, so I looked into it and it wasn’t very costly to bring it to Ottumwa.”
Greiner then brought the attention to AJ Gevcock, director of the Regional Entrepreneurship Center at Indian Hills, and thought it would be a good asset.
So far, Greiner has an estimated 30 kids sign up for the campaign. She came to the Home and Garden show to tell others about Lemonade Day, the purpose behind it, and to boost interest before the first Lemonade Day arrives May 16.
“It’s just really exciting,” she said. “We’re happy to have probably 25 to 30 kids signed up and looking to have 30 stands all over Ottumwa.
“We’re fortunate enough to be the first one in Iowa to bring it to our children,” she added. “We need more positive things for our youth to do in Ottumwa.”
The Home and Garden show did bring a variety of organizations and businesses together, something Sharon Stroh, GOPiP’s vice president of industrial development, appreciated.
“It was the perfect time to see what the vendors had to offer,” she said. “There are vendors here that I see that I’ve used since I’ve been coming here. I have done work with vendors here — vendors I have come to know over the years. I feel that they are trustworthy and friendly.”
The Ottumwa Evening Lions booth seemed to do particularly well. In the early afternoon, crowds of attendees lined up to buy brooms.
“There’s a lot of people who come back just to buy the brooms,” Barb Bates, Lions Club member said. “Of course they’ll come to see everything, but they will just come to see our brooms. That’s really great.”
The sales pitch also boosted sales.
“The Lions Club is focused on helping people who cannot see,” Chuck Bates, club secretary, said. “We help them get glasses that they need and also recycle hearing aids, and we are going to be sponsoring a child here in Ottumwa to go to diabetes camp this summer.”
The Bates plan to come back next year.
“We’ve been coming here for several years,” Barb Bates, Chuck’s wife, said, “at least 10 years. It gives us a chance to visit with everybody.”
For the rest of the day, crowds lined up to buy household items, furniture, plants or even cookies.