By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Area small businesses recently got a needed pick-up at the Kay County Courthouse July 24. What normally would have been a quiet summer day in Newkirk revealed a spectacle in front of the facility, with vendors braving the summer sun under myriad canopies. It could have been Charlie Adams Day, but instead it was a Newkirk Business Pop-Up, an event planned specifically to help those local businesses find new clientele, presenting their wares to a community looking for them.
The event was sponsored by M&S Advertising and Events, of Blackwell, and Newkirk Main Street. It was the first time the two organizations joined together, and the first such event in Newkirk.
“I think it went well, for a first-time event,” said NMS Director Alyssa McCleery.
Businesses Pop-Up events have seen a lot of popularity in the area recently. These programs put mom-and-pop type businesses out in the public so potential customers can see what they offer.
“A Pop-Up not only helps small businesses, it helps non profit organizations, and brick and mortar stores,” said Shantel Emerine, of M&S Advertising and Events, who helped organize the event.
M&S Advertising and Events has held several such events in the area, from Tonkawa and Ponca City, Blackwell, to Enid, and even Medford. Emerine created a Facebook page, “Let’s Talk Small Business,” to promote small-town businesses.
“The businesses come together, and they talk about their products with the community, show their items,” Emerine said.
McCleery saw a lack of activity in Newkirk on the organization’s Facebook page, and reached out for an opportunity to bring it to Newkirk.
“I noticed that she was doing Pop-Up events throughout Kay County, and it was something I was interested in doing, but didn’t have the time or volunteers to do it,” McCleery said. “Newkirk seemed to be excluded at these Pop-Up events, so I reached out to her.”
Both contacted local businesses to participate to get their name out in the public.
“We really tried to seek out local, homemade items by local businesses, and this gives them a place to display them,” McCleery said. “A lot of them are working out of their homes, garages; they are home-based businesses.”
McCleery estimates nearly 30 businesses arrived to set up at the Government Square, ranging from food booths and trucks to boutiques, and even bouncy houses, to entertain the kids. Many of them came from Newkirk.
RLC Farms, LLC is set up near the Newkirk Fire Department, at the edge of the parking lot. A local farm, they offer many items to a hungry public, ranging from chicken and eggs, meat and even honey, all sold from the farm itself.
“This is our first time at an event, and it’s been a decent turnout,” Tammy Ross said. “We’ve been out on our farm for 14 years, but this is the first time selling our products at an event (like this).”
Part of the reason they are only now starting out is due to regulations in how to market perishable items, including chicken and milk.
“With chickens, the way it is regulated, we have to sell it at the farm. The same goes with milk,” Ross said.
Leslie Pannell and her husband, Bo, both of Newkirk, have their own business with a boutique company, Portie Pies Boutique, which sells clothing for babies and children. They have only been open out of their home a little while and this is their first event to be out in the public.
“We started out of our house in October (2020). We had a daughter last March, and my husband thought it would be cheaper to open a boutique,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to do this.”
Others came from outside the community, including Ray and Denise Barrett, of Blackwell, who sell items under “Unique Barn.” They offer military hats, and other sewing items
“This is our third show, and it’s been a nice turnout,” Denise said.
Many of the vendors see the event as an important opportunity to get their names in front of the public.
“I think it helps get our name out there. I’ve been able to give out a few cards, and talk to people about our business,” Pinnell said.
That was the goal for the event, to educate the public about the community, and what they have to offer.
“A lot of these businesses needed a place to post about their business and products, but they also need a place to show their products,” Emerine said. “A lot of people don’t know about these small businesses, and they need a place to set up, and it helps get them advertising, as well.”