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[LOCAL TALENT]

by Daniel Schere

ELASYA JESSUP – YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR

Two years ago, 9-year-old Elasya Jessup wanted an American Girl doll but needed a way to earn the money so she could pay for it herself. She took on the task by selling candy apples to her neighbors. She then progressed to selling them at a couple of fall bazaars at Whitaker Elementary School. And then finally, she asked her father Shannon Jessup about getting a store of her own.

“One day she said, ‘Dad, I like this. Can I have a store?’ So we were like, ‘If you can dream it, we’ll try to make it happen for you,'” Jessup said.

On Black Friday 2012, they opened a small store in Hanes Mall to test things out and Elasya B’s was born. Jessup said they sold $10,000 worth of apples within a month, which prompted them to move to their current location on West Fourth Street downtown. He said since then business has thrived.

“Things have been going very well,” he said. “We’ve gotten a lot of support, a lot of media coverage, we’ve had congress men come through here and senators.

Different people have come through. I guess they caught wind of a new cool candy store.”

Elasya B’s has expanded its repertoire from its Hanes Mall days to include a variety of gourmet and hard candy apples, as well as fancy marshmallows, cupcakes and Italian ice. They also sell gift baskets and offer a room that can be rented for events.

Elasya attends school in Guilford County and is only able to spend evenings at the store. On Mondays and Thursdays her piano teacher comes by and gives her lessons.

Jessup said the business supports itself and everything in the store belongs to Elasya. He said she enjoys running the business and is interested in becoming an entrepreneur one day.

“She definitely wants to own her own business,” he said. “Not only own her own business, but have a franchise.” !

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