BENTONVILLE -- Small business owners got a much-needed supplement to their income Saturday at Vintage Market Days of Northwest Arkansas, event organizers say.
The event began Friday at Benton County Fairgrounds and will conclude today, said Megan Allen, who co-owns Vintage Market Days with her mother, Tammy Edwards.
The mother-daughter team are from Owasso, Okla., and offer two events in Northwest Arkansas annually, Allen said.
The weekend's market was their first of the season in the region, she said. The event was originally scheduled for May but had to be rescheduled because of the covid-19 pandemic.
The market features about 115 vendors, food trucks and live music, Allen said. Shoppers can pick up items such as antiques, clothing, jewelry and handmade décor.
About 1,400 people attended the event Friday and about 2,000 attendees came out to shop by midday Saturday, she said.
Attendance has been comparable to previous years, Allen said.
The event is of particular value for vendors during the pandemic, she said, many of whom rely on events such as Vintage Market Days as a major source of income.
"Our vendors need customers now more than they ever have," Allen said. "They've been out of work for months with nowhere to showcase their work."
Brad and Wendy Hall traveled from Tulsa, Okla., to sell repurposed antiques through their business Dude and Dot Mercantile.
Wendy Hall, a retired schoolteacher, said owning the business is a dream come true for her. That fulfillment could be short-lived, she said, because the couple is at risk of closing the business during their first full year of operation.
The couple anticipated participating in about 20 events this year to sell their wares, Brad Hall said. They currently have about nine that are tentatively scheduled for the remainder of the season.
The business could survive perhaps another six months under the current circumstances, he said.
"I may have to give up my dream," Wendy Hall said.
A special permit had to be obtained to offer the event during the pandemic, Allen said, adding specific precautions had to be put in place in accordance with Arkansas Department of Health stipulations.
Additional hand sanitizing stations have been set up, the aisles between vendors have been widened, the venue is operating at 33% capacity, the temperature of event staff is being taken daily and customers are required to wear face masks, she said. The venue also opened up two hours early on Saturday and will open an hour earlier than normal today to help reduce crowd size.
"Those people who come early in the morning are serious about their shopping," Edwards said.
Carol Burgess said she makes a trip from Nettleton, Miss., to visit her sister-in-law in Siloam Springs and to attend Vintage Market Days of Northwest Arkansas whenever she can.
She said she's grateful to have an opportunity to attend this year's market amid the pandemic and to help support event vendors.
"This is how they make their living, so I think it's very important," Burgess said.
The next Vintage Market Days of Northwest Arkansas is scheduled for October, which she said she also plans to attend.
"Anytime they have us, we come," Burgess said of her family. "We love it up here."
Vintage Market Days of Northwest Arkansas will be featured from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at the Benton County Fairgrounds, 7640 S.W. Regional Airport Blvd., in Bentonville.
Source: Vintage Market Days