First Thursday Pop-Up helps small business, feeds crowd hungry for events

Shelby and Cormac Kelly, owners of Poppie Paperie, joke with Kender Myers as she stopsd at their booth during the First Thursday Pop-Up event for area retailers at 434 Fannin Thursday. Seven local businesses joined in the event, as retailers find ever-creative means by which to keep their businesses alive […]

The First Thursday Pop-Up shop held in the renovated historic building at 434 Fannin in Beaumont drew a large crowd, hungry not just for the food, drinks and locally made goods they could buy, but the opportunity to gather with friends and family.

They gathered to socialize as they ate, drank and filled the booths of seven local retailers, poring over the creations of local jewelry makers, designers, artists, craft brewers and restaurateurs.

It was also an opportunity for small business owners operating from home or in the start-up phase to get eyes in real time on their goods.

Lucky Pepper Company’s Peyton Provost of Lumberton, who creates handmade clay-based jewelry, talked with the crowd of customers surrounding her booth as they made their selections. This was her first public show for the business she started in February and runs from home through online sales.

The story was similar for jewelry maker Sydney Bean one booth over, and Lindsey McDonald, three booths away. McDonald is an elementary art teacher at East Chambers in Winnie who picked up macrame as a hobby in July but found demand for her creations and has been selling online since.

Among the vendors were two new businesses that plan to launch in the fall, including Poppie Paperie, whose owners Shelby and Cormac Kelly specialize in fine art designs for wedding and corporate stationery, and 1701 Barbecue, the latter of which has a site building now on Calder Avenue in Beaumont. Owner Blue Broussard operated a food truck for five years, but says he wanted to give brick and mortar a try. He is aiming for an Oct. 1 opening, adding “we’ll see how that goes” as the COVID-19 situation continues.

Pour Brothers, Sachi’s Sweets and The Avenue were among the more established food and drink booths rounding out the vendors, offering their signature food and beverages.

The event, held in concert with the monthly First Thursday specials in Beaumont, is among the attempts to help keep local small businesses viable and on the public radar amid the many closures and restrictions due to the coronavirus.

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