‘We have so many talented people’

Apsaalooke Community Market inspires entrepreneurial spirit
Thursday, July 26, 2018

Photo by Logan Jeno

Cedar Rose Bulltail – owner of Cedar Rose Creations, a business that specializes in medicinal plants – sells her work at the Apsaalooke Community Market in Crow Agency. The market is open each Saturday at 9 a.m. until Aug. 10.

What began as a gathering of wintertime bazaars in Crow Agency has evolved this year into a more concerted effort, called the Apsaalooke Community Market. This market, according to vendor Cedar Rose Bulltail, allows a window of opportunity for those participating to utilize their various gifts.

For the market, vendors set up at 317 Heritage Ave. in Crow Agency at 9 a.m. each Saturday. The event began June 9 and will continue until Aug. 10.

“We have so many talented people in our community,” Bulltail said. “Being consistent, we’re hoping to acquire more vendors.”

The market often consists of around six to seven vendors who pay differing fees depending on the size of stalls, with a discount for young entrepreneurs. These fees allow the market to keep self-sufficient by helping organizers pay for utilities, such as awnings and portable restrooms.

Beaded jewelry and crafts are usually the items available for sale, though Bulltail hopes the market will begin to offer more home-grown fruits and vegetables.

The Big Horn County area has many trees and plants that can be effective resources, she said, adding “[local plants] have many medicinal uses.”

Bulltail, who worked for 12 years as a firefighter at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, has had plenty of experience with Montana plants. Her business, Cedar Rose Creations, focuses on this, with her main product being a salve made of the yarrow plant. The salve has anti-inflammatory as well as antiseptic properties.

The market also reaches out to the community, as a food drive is always present, with donors able to enter a drawing for a piece of beaded jewelry made by one of the vendors.

Much of the event’s new commercial push was due to the efforts of Charlene Johnson, founder of the Plentydoors Community Development Corporation.

Plentydoors is an organization focused on economic development, while preserving Crow culture. Whenever there was a bazaar, Johnson would hold a training session afterwards on subjects such as social media or business planning.

“It was a way to attract local entrepreneurs so they would have resources, so they could take their businesses to the next level,” she said. “I want everything we do to be community driven.”

Much of the stalls and equipment were paid for by a $6,000 grant from the Community Vitality Foundation. These improvements, Johnson hopes, will make the market more popular.

“I’d like it to become a destination for people to want to come to,” Johnson said.

She also wants the market to attract more young vendors, like Solomon Montoya, who was selling cookies and other baked goods. The market, Montoya said, has taught him “how to handle money and how to be responsible.”

Though the market is set to end Aug. 10, many vendors want to continue selling their goods at events around the community including Crow Fair in Crow Agency and the Plenty Coups Day of Honor in Pryor.

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