Brewing up business: Young entrepreneur gets a taste of the action

 

He can’t spell it yet, but when he grows up, Anthony Herranen, 13, wants to be an entrepreneur. 

In pursuit of that goal, Anthony, 13, on Wednesday afternoon at the Livingston Farmers Market opened his first day of his first business — an iced tea franchise with the Big Timber-based Tumblewood Teas, a small business that happened to get its own start at the farmers market. 

Anthony has sort of a sweetheart deal. Tumblewood Teas sold him tea at below cost. Owners Riza Gilpin and Laurie Rennie are renting him the equipment for a modest fee. 

But Anthony has to abide by rules he agreed to in the franchise contract. He can’t sell the tea anywhere but at the farmers market. He has clear instructions about how to brew and serve the tea. Right now he’s selling iced tea, but he has the option to serve it hot if the weather gets cool during the September markets, Gilpin said Thursday. And he’s agreed to be there every Wednesday afternoon for the next nine weeks, even after school starts. 

And he has his own overhead expenses. He’s into the market manager for $2.50 a week for his booth fee. He pays a modest $2 a week to Tumblewood Teas. Everything above that is pure profit that he gets to keep. Business got brisk Wednesday afternoon, and Anthony was on track to put $60 in his pocket by market’s close.

He’s not sure what he plans to do with his money, but looking at a nearby booth with baked goods, he said he might like to buy a pie. 

Anthony had two types of tea Wednesday — Cinnamon Bear, which is a black tea flavored with cinnamon and other flavors, and Berry Bouquet. 

“They’re both sugar-free and gluten-free,” he said, enunciating clearly and precisely with a little help from his franchisee three-ring binder.

Anthony got involved with entrepreneurship this past school year as a seventh-grader at Sleeping Giant Middle School. Western Sustainability Exchange, the nonprofit organization that hosts the farmers market, among other programs, expanded its Youth Entrepreneurial Stewardship program, into a weekly after-school club, thanks to the initiative of Margy Dorr, an Americorps/VISTA volunteer. Dorr created programming and projects for the weekly YES Club. 

Her programs included training in creating a product, banking, financial literacy — and because many of the kids wanted to sell baked goods and beverages — food safety, Dorr said Wednesday.

Wednesday’s market had about six youth booths, Market Manager Rob Bankston said. 

Tumblewood Teas owners Riza Gilpin and Laurie Rennie got so busy with their growing business they realized, sadly, they couldn’t afford to spend a whole day at the local farmers market. Gilpin said it was a tough decision, and they felt bad for disappointing customers who enjoyed their teas each week. 

But talking to Bankston this spring, the idea of offering a franchise to a young entrepreneur came up, and it sounded like a “win-win,” Gilpin said. 

It’s fun to give a kid a chance, and I wanted to bring the tea back for our customers,” she said. 

Gilpin said she was impressed with Anthony’s demeanor and professionalism, even noting he appeared at their contract signing in a crisp white buttoned-down shirt.

“Anthony is exactly who we would have chosen for our franchise,” Gilpin said. 

Learn more about WSE and its YES program online at www.westernsustainabilityexchange.org.

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Liz Kearney may be reached at communitynews@livent.net.