Local artisans and vendors hoping for successful holiday season after craft fairs canceled

Published: Nov. 27, 2020 at 9:20 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Local crafters and artists have had to find new ways to sell their work since craft fairs across the Ozarks have been cancelled this year. Now, Springfield vendors are hoping the Christmas shopping season will help.

Every year, about 125 artists show off and sell their creations at Artsfest and Cider Days, both of which were called off because of the coronavirus. On Small Business Saturday, 14 of those will be set up in downtown Springfield, in the old Starbucks location on South Street.

“It’s been a bummer for the most part, a lot of shows have been canceled,” said Elaine Johnson.

For the last five years, Johnson has been creating custom paintings, notebooks and magnets full-time. She started selling at vendor fairs. Now she uses social media and Etsy, but still relies on shows for income.

“It’s very important. Most of my business is meeting with other crafters and makers and supporting each other,” Johnson said.

Rusty Worley, Executive Director of the Downtown Springfield Association, says 40% of annual sales typically come in the fourth quarter.

“This is always the most important time of the year for local retail,” Worley said.

He said small businesses and local crafters have struggled this year and are going to depend on holiday shopping to see them through the start of 2021.

“This small business Saturday is more important than ever to make sure that these small businesses can get through the quiet time of the first of the year and be around next year at this time,” Worley said.

The Downtown Springfield Association has breathed new life into Taffy Massey’s jewelry store on Walnut Street, Crystalline Velvet. It has turned into a hub for local creations such as woodworking, paintings and ceramics. Because of the pandemic, it had gone out of business.

“I had opened this with what my father left me and once it was gone, there was no way to continue,” Massey said.

Now, it’s the Holiday Pop-Up Shop, showing off 18 artisans and crafters, including Massey, an artisan jewelry maker. The pop-up opened it in October. The Downtown Springfield Association also rented the space on South Street for the Queen City Craft Show on Small Business Saturday.

“This is really important to the local artists to be able to continue to make and produce what they do,” Massey said.

Massey said hand-made goods can make the best holiday gifts for loved ones, while giving hope to some struggling small businesses.

“You’re just supporting the people in your own family, your own town,” she said.

The Queen City Craft Show will be Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5, which Worley said is a donation to the Downtown Springfield Association.

The Holiday Pop-Up Shop around the corner on Walnut will be open until December 31.

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