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Event brings entrepreneurs young and old to Pine Bluff's downtown streets

The youngest CEO on the block was 6-year-old Elijah Ballard selling gourmet popcorn.

PINE BLUFF, Ark — Saturday afternoon was full of food, music, and camaraderie in downtown Pine Bluff as the 3rd annual Pop Up in the Bluff took over the streets.

For four straight hours the corner of 6th and Main Street was blocked off as food trucks, tents and people lined the streets. 

Joy Blankenship, Executive Director of Pine Bluff Downtown Development, said it is a chance for local entrepreneurs to come out and sell their products. 

"What a pop up does is it brings people into your downtown who don’t normally come into your downtown," she said. 

There were 38 vendors ranging from clothing to soaps to art. 

Blankenship said Pop Up in the Bluff is held in different areas every year, and this year they chose Main Street to show the community how hard they are working to make Pine Bluff a destination town once again. 

"It brings the community together. We don't do it for the money, but we do it for the people to show that we need to be a revitalization area. We just want them to see what it will be," she said. 

Blankenship said it is $25 to reserve a spot and that money goes straight to next year's event.

She said this is something the community looks forward to every year. 

"It brings all of us together. It brings everybody in the community together. There's something here for everybody," Blankenship said. 

She said this opportunity allows the city to highlight the wide variety of local entrepreneurs. 

"You'll see candles and paintings. We range from insurance sales to the cutest little 6 year old boy that sells popcorn," Blankenship said. 

Meet Elijah Ballard, the youngest entrepreneur on the block. 

"I like making popcorn," he said. 

This 6-year-old CEO is proving that age is just a number. 

"It doesn't matter," Elijah said. 

His business, It's Poppin' Popcorn, sells gourmet popcorn ranging from caramel candied nuts to oreo flavored popcorn. 

Entrepreneurship is something that is just in Elijah's blood. He learned the ropes from his mom, Elaina Ballard.

"Actually he was starting to sell out, so I added my products on the other side behind me," she said. 

Ballard has her own business, Mommy's Midnight Snax, selling natural skin care and feminine wellness products. 

This one-of-a-kind mother-son duo makes popcorn and memories. 

"It’s really fun getting him to understand the fundamentals of business, of earning, of saving, creating, producing, marketing his brand," she said. 

"It's my favorite thing to do," Elijah said. 

Both Elijah and Ballard said they hope to be business partners for years to come.

"That's the plan," Ballard said.