Reece Barrow, owner of Gear Rack, will be one of the featured presenters in the local CEO Virtual Trade Show, which is planned Friday, May 15, on Facebook: Union County CEO. Photo provided.

CEO program planning virtual trade show

Union County CEO’s young entrepreneurs should have just finished another successful regional trade show at the Dunn-Richmond Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and their dynamic end of year celebration/trade show at the Davie School Inn in Anna. 

Instead, they are sheltered in place for coronavirus/COVID-19 while still making every effort to complete the final requirement of this unique high school class – to research, plan, create, run and present a small business at a trade show.

Unexpected lessons that  Union County CEO Team 2020 members have learned are that businesses must adjust to things out of their control, carefully weigh the pros and cons of how they do business and decide how to market amid social distancing.  

With those lessons in mind, the CEO students will be having a virtual trade show.

UCCEO program board chair Casey Stout stated: “Our board is very pleased to announce this virtual trade show for Friday, May 15, on Facebook.  

“Our students have kept positive attitudes, have worked hard, and are prepared to wow you with what they have been able to accomplish under unprecedented circumstances.  

“We thank our facilitator, Kathy Bryan, for modeling how to use resources to overcome what could have been disastrous for these students, some who still will need to pay back loans.”

Here are the descriptions the business owners shared for the virtual trade show:

Alex Remsey

Alto Archery Targets

Located in deep Southern Illinois, Alto Archery Targets is committed to providing quality archery targets for avid outdoorsmen and archery fanatics who share the same passion for archery as our dedicated team.

Alex  Remsey started Alto Archery Targets as a way to offer high quality targets to Union County but also to start a business that followed his passion for archery.  

If you enjoy bow hunting or archery, go to Alex’s Facebook Page, Alto Archery Targets, and check out his pictures and videos of his target in use. This would make a great Father’s Day gift.

Drake Roach

SI Pressure Washing

SI Pressure Washing is dedicated to offering affordable pressure washing in Southern Illinois.  

Having spent summers working in lawn care, he knew he enjoyed working outdoors and, decided to create SI Pressure Washing.  

SI Pressure Washing can make your home, patio, boat, or whatever you need cleaned look good as new.  

Check them out on Facebook at SI Pressure Washing to see examples of Drake’s work or contact Drake Roach at 618-697-4321.

Reece Barrow

Gear Rack

Gear Rack stores all your sports gear in one place, allows your gear to dry without losing its shape, and most importantly, keeps the unpleasant smells of dirt and sweat out of your house. 

Made in locally, using American materials, Gear Rack is 100 percent weather-resistant, durable, compact and very affordable. 

Reece developed his idea based off a rack that his grandfather had made for him when he was on the football team to let his gear air out after practice and games.  

Reece expanded this idea and can tailor racks to any sport’s storage needs.  

He has also focused on creating storage racks for swimming pool areas to allow for floaties, pool noodles and towels to be kept organized and out of the way when they are not in use. 

If sports are a part of your family’s life, you’ve got to get a Gear Rack. Follow Gear Rack on Facebook for more information.   

Laura Brown

LB Designs

Laura Brown’s business, LB Designs, strives to offer cute, affordable tassel earrings to women in Union County without the hassle of going to another area to find this latest trend in earrings.  

All of her products are handmade from custom orders so women can pick their favorite colors, school colors, or coordinate with that special outfit. LB Designs can be found on Facebook.

Julia Lasley

Train with Jules

As an athlete, Julia Lasley has always had to maintain a certain level of fitness and is aware of how difficult it can be to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  

Julia decided to create a fitness blog in order to share her experience and support those who might be struggling in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  

At Train with Jules, she releases her fitness routines, recipes, advice and various health information.  

Julia plans to continue her blog when she moves to Mississippi to go to college.  

You can find links to her blog on Facebook and Instagram or subscribe at

Addison Osman

Mr. Union County

Addison Osman has volunteered and competed at pageants for many years.  

She knew from the beginning of personal business discussions that she wanted to host a pageant but with a twist.

Addison’s pageant would be Mr. Union County, a competition for Union County junior and senior high school boys where the winner would receive a scholarship.    

Addison was in the process of securing sponsors for the scholarship and registering boys to compete in the pageant when the stay at home order was enacted in March.  

At this time, Mr. Union County is on hold but you can contact Addison through Mr. Union County Facebook page or at  

Braden Benns

Rustic Refinishings

As a hobby, Braden had refinished several pieces of furniture for his own use over the last year and decided that he would turn that hobby into his business. 

Rustic Refinishings takes old furniture and gives it new life.  

He finds everything from tables and chairs to end tables, refinishes them and sells them at an affordable price.  

Braden’s goal was to provide families in Union County with nice furniture that they may not have been able to afford at a new furniture price.  

Braden has also taken small pieces of furniture and refinished them for customers. He can be reached through his Facebook page: Rustic Refinishings.

Noah McFarland

Boogies Backyard Builds

Noah decided to put his skill in woodworking to use and turn it into his business: lawn games for families.  

Boogie’s Backyard Builds provides made-to-order wooden lawn games.    

Noah’s goal is to provide a way for families to unplug, get outside and enjoy healthy family time together. 

Noah specializes in corn hole games that can be personalized to your design.  You can see Noah’s designs at Boogie’s Backyard Builds on Facebook. 

Lauren Lyerla


Lauren has created a fashion blog called Sweet Opiee. 

Lauren has been involved with boutiques in the area since participating in pageants.  

Lauren’s goal is to create a blog that any girl living in a rural area could relate to but that also highlights clothes that can be purchased from local boutiques  through a link on her page.  

You can find out more about SweetOpiee on her Facebook page or by emailing Lauren at

Joe Brumleve

Joe’s Produce

Joe  Brumleve knew that he wanted to do something in agriculture. 

During his research, Joe found that there were very few local businesses offering home delivery of produce in Union County.  

He realized that many people who desire local produce cannot get to the farmers’ markets either because the times are inconvenient, or they may not be able to drive to them.  

Joe decided to fill that gap for people in Union County by offering a box of fresh,  local produce delivered to their door once a week.  

If you are interested in Joe’s Produce, contact him through his Facebook page, Joe’s Produce.  

Michelle Wolford

Rockin “W” Candles

Michelle Wolford decided that she wanted to make a “healthier” candle.   

She had found that there are a variety of harmful additives in many candles.  

Michelle decided that she would make candles with organic soy and all organic scents and colors so that they would be better for her customers. Each candle is handmade and comes in a mason jar.  

Michelle’s business, Rockin “W” Candles, makes candles in a variety of sizes and scents. 

Michelle can be contacted through her Facebook page, Rockin “W” Candles to place orders.   

Jayclynn Presutti

Delightful Design Decals

Delightful Design Decals is owned and operated by Jayclynn Presutti. 

Delightful Design Decals was created to fill a void in the smaller schools by providing custom sport and club decals. 

The stay at home order has shifted her focus, and she is now hard at work creating decals for custom orders. She has made religion based, patriotic, armed forces, monograms and many more decals. 

You can visit Delightful Design Decals or text 618-303-4021 to place an order for your high quality, durable, and custom decal. Jayclynn will bring your vision to light.

The Union County class is actually about life skills, Adulting 101, couched in the world of business, where students learn about accountability, time management, engagement, effective communication, money management, customer service, commitment and grit.  

No matter the fields these students go into, they will have profited from these “soft skills” that are often missing from those entering the workforce or higher education.

The virtual trade show starting May 15 will be accessed through Facebook: Union County CEO.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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