Vendors facing cash crunch
Cindy White - Nov 15, 2023 - Biz Releases

new survey conducted for business insights platform Givex finds that 71% of British Columbians think inflation will impact their gift-giving plans this holiday season.

For vendors at local craft markets, that could be cause for concern.

“A lot of them, this is their full-time job. Some of them, they just do this on the weekends, but regardless, they count on sales as their income and Christmas is the biggest income earner all year. So it’s a little make or break this time of year,” said Karalyn Lockhart, founder of Craft Culture, which has two upcoming markets in Kelowna.

Michelle Knuttila is the event co-ordinator for the 15th annual Christmas Extravaganza at Rutland Centennial Hall. She’s also a vendor, selling her Busy Woman Creations products at several craft fairs. She noticed shoppers started cutting back on their spending last year, and it has continued this season.

“When people are coming to markets right now they are bringing cash, instead of using their cards. You can tell people are shopping on a budget and they’re really shopping specific, trying to get one decent thing for each person, instead of a whole bunch of things,” Knuttila said.

She said businesses like hers are also facing rising costs. “As a creator, things have gone up in price. So our prices have to creep up a little bit.”

Knutilla said it’s troubling when she hears people say they can get what she makes cheaper on Amazon.

“I saw a study recently that if you spend $1 here in Kelowna on somebody locally that 68 cents of that $1 stays locally. If you buy it online or from a big box story, one penny stays locally.”

Lockhart anticipates that vendors who made it through the pandemic will probably make it through this latest challenge.

“The good thing about coming to an event like this is that there’s so many different products,” she said. “So whether you want to spent a lot of money or you just have a small budget, every vendor usually has a wide product line. So there’s something for everyone.”

The Craft Culture Holiday Magic Market takes over both floors of the Rotary Centre for the Arts this weekend, Nov. 18 and 19. The main Craft Culture Holiday Market is at Prospera Place Dec. 1-3.

The Christmas Extravaganza at Rutland Centennial Hall runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 25.

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