Not many people passed “Alex’s Colorful Corner” without experiencing a demonstration from its proprietor, 7-year-old Alex Serra, a first-grader at Greensview Elementary School in Upper Arlington.
Alex was one of 21 students who participated in the Columbus Children’s Business Fair on April 27 at Avery Lodge, 3980 Main St. in Hilliard.
The Children’s Business Fair almost doubled in size since its inaugural event last year when it was attended by 11 students and held at Coffee Connections of Hilliard, 4004 Main St.
“We moved this year because we needed the room,” said business-fair organizer Kristy DiGiacomo.
DiGiacomo is a Hilliard resident who owns Learning Leaf, a mobile tutoring and education-service provider for students of all ages.
Each student was required to submit a business model and pay $25 to lease a booth, she said. The fair was open to students ages 6 to 16.
The students also had the opportunity to work with “mentors” who provided assistance to students to establish and carry out their business models, DiGiacomo said.
Alex’s idea was to allow customers to make their own artwork on coasters.
He demonstrated using Sharpie markers of multiple colors to make random swirls on a piece of ceramic tile.
A small amount of rubbing alcohol was poured on the surface and a lighter was applied to the surface, causing the ink marks to spread in unpredictable ways and creating a psychedelic pattern on each piece of tile.
Customers could make their own artwork or purchase his demo piece for $2.
Sarina Friedman, 8, a third-grader at Emerson Elementary School in Westerville, was selling artwork at the business fair.
“I really enjoy painting so I chose this,” said Sarina, whose booth was named “Sarina’s Nut N’ But Paint.”
Sarina’s sister, Rhianna, a sixth-grader at Genoa Middle School in Westerville, sold jewelry under the name “Rhianna’s Creations.”
In addition to acrylic on canvas for $5 each, Sarina sold hand-painted ceramic coasters for $2 each.
Like Sarina, 11-year-old Josh Piko, a fifth-grader at Scioto Darby Elementary School in Hilliard, blended his personal interests with his business model.
Josh, who plays football and baseball, was selling four-piece sets of “Josh’s Sport Coasters” for $10.
“I saw coasters with players on them and wanted to make my own,” he said.
Using a piece of ceramic floor tile, Josh selected baseball and football cards from his own collection and placed them on a painted piece of tile.
He sprayed the tile with Mod Podge, a kind of glue that seals the card under a coating, and glued cork to the back of each coaster.
“I also made a Facebook page,” @JoshsSportCoasters, on which he could sell any leftover products, Josh said.
“The kids are all great,” said Taryn Mayer, one of three judges who met with each student during the business fair. “I was a little surprised at how engaging they all are and how excited they are to show me how they made their (products).”
For judging, students were divided into two groups: age 10 and younger and 11 and older.
The awards for the 10-and-younger category included:
• Most Creative – “Vera’s Paintings” by Gwynavere Barr, 10, from Royal Manor Elementary in Gahanna.
• Most Business Potential – “Alex’s Colorful Corner.”
The awards in the 11-and-older category included:
• Most Creative – “Furry Friends” by Maggie West, 12, from Station Sixth Grade School in Hilliard and Vanessa Betz, 11, from Tharp Sixth Grade School in Hilliard.
• Most Business Potential – “4G” by Annmarie Thomas, 12, Antoinette Thomas, 10, Angelina Thomas, 9, and Andria Thomas, 8. Annmarie goes to Walnut Springs Middle School in Westerville; the other three students attend McVay Elementary School in Westerville.
The overall “Judge’s Choice” awards included:
• “Mia and Patrick’s Workshop” by Mia Hughes, 7, from Hoffman Trails Elementary School in Hilliard.
• “Crazy Chains” by Amelia Staugler, 8, from Beacon Elementary School in Hilliard.
• “Rainbow Slimes” by Monroe Harder, 11, and Violet Carter, 11, from Canterbury Elementary School in Cleveland Heights.