Loretta Wagner started up her baking business late last year after winning multiple ribbons from the Wilson County Fair, but COVID-19 threw a wrench n her plans.
The Mt. Juliet resident has found it almost impossible to get Baking Me Delicious out in front of the community this year as shopping events cancel or scale down. When she heard about the Christmas Market Vendor Fair at Circle P Ranch, she knew she needed to get involved.
“It’s been going very well,” Wagner said. “This is the only way I get extra money, by Circle P doing this for us … I was very excited about it, because it had been since last November that I’d done anything.”
Wagner was among roughly 20 local business owners at the two-day event on Friday and Saturday. Circle P Ranch manager Staci Page said her goal is to host a small business showcase every month, and she already has one lined up for Dec. 13 that includes pictures with Santa Claus.
“Most of (the vendors) are from Wilson County, and I’ve got some in Hermitage and Old Hickory,” she said. “It’s helped them out tremendously, they’ve been very grateful and told us how it’s helped them out. We want to make sure we go around and check on everybody.”
For Page, that also means rotating out vendors from event to event so different local businesses can benefit from the community support — which she said was strong over the weekend.
“Saturday was really busy, and I think everyone was a lot more pleased with the crowd that day,” she said. “All the vendors were very appreciate of the support from the community.”
Sue Dalziel, the owner of Mimi’s Wreaths & More, said she welcomed the chance to get back to in-person business as well.
“We’re all over the COVID,” she said. “I advertise on Facebook Marketplace, but it’s not working so good. Me, I like to see touch and shop and it’s been great for people to come out and support local businesses.”
Dalziel also set up at Circle P’s weekend shopping events in October, and said she has been able to attract a lot of business there. Bethany McCue, who owns Biscuit Belle Boutique, did the same, and she said the face-to-face interaction with customers is key.
“That’s been the biggest challenge is that vendor events have been cancelled,” she said. “That prevents small businesses from getting out in front of our customers … the big box stores are constantly open, but we can’t. For a lot of us, this is our livelihood, and we want to be able to get creative and show people what we can make.”