Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Woolery Market Review

Our local newspaper has started a new market for local, county, and state makers to showcase their goods to the public. They call it the Woolery Market and I went to the very first one this past Saturday, February 13, 2016. I went because there were going to be four food places at the event and two more outside in food trunks. As you know, for our On the Road articles I'm always looking out for chocolate related stops to share with you. That just rarely happens where I live. So what was the Woolery Market, was there any chocolate, and would I try it again?

The first thing to know about this event is that is was freaking cold that day. According to timeanddate.com, the high that day was 21°F. Second the event started at 10am but we planned to leave our house around 10:30am even though there were late announcements in the newspaper about giveaways and coupons available only to the first 1000 attendees. We were wrong when we thought folks would stay away. We got one of the last entry forms and coupons when we arrived at 10:50am. Look at all the folks in their heavy coats! Yes, they did have these heaters also around the perimeter but given how tall they were and that heat rises... unless you were right next to one, it didn't do much.


It was very crowded. We had friends who arrived at 10am and they told us there was parking near to the building. We got very lucky and parked right next to our favorite local radio station's van B97!


I had downloaded a copy of the vender layout for the event but once we were inside I realized it wasn't set up that way. There were four food stops and the first of these was right after the entry table -- Dip Chicks Dips which I hope will talk to me in the future about one of their chocolate related products.


In the back corner was Wagon Wheel Country Market... no chocolate that day but they say they do sell chocolate items so I hope they contact me, too. You can see the plastic that was raised to separate the venue. Frankly I wish they had used more of the venue because it was crowded and didn't encourage lingering which would have increased sales. I know, I've done such events myself.


Sofra Cafe was also there but no chocolate and I don't imagine they do much with chocolate but here's a photo of their booth.


The best chocolate vendor was Nate's Candy Jar which was focused on fudge but also had a few other items including pet friendly items. My lover got enough fudge that we also got a free sample of their fudge in this delightful Valentine themed box. I really hope to hear from them again because of the fudge we had from them was great.


There were other vendors with a hint of chocolate. Earth and Wind Creations uses cocoa butter in their products and Monarch Apothecary and Milkweed Soaps told me that she's been experimenting with cacao nibs. Sadly the photo of the apothecary was blurry but here is one of Earth and Wind Creations who had heart shaped samples of their solid lotions that are made with cocoa butter. Again the hanging plastic dividing the space.


Of course the bulk of folks were non-chocolate related vendors. Here's a shot of the head of Press Puzzles where we stopped and I may have done some Christmas shopping for 2016...


Outside there were a couple of food trucks and one of them, STIR BTown, served both coffee and hot chocolate; I saw them later that same day at The Art of Chocolate which I'll be reviewing this coming weekend.


If this event was a success, the Woolery Market is supposed to return on May 14, 2016, and if they have more food vendors I would certainly check it out again. There are a few suggestions I have for the future of the market.

1. Have someone helping out with parking. As it was, folks were all over the place on the open grounds outside of the venue.

2. Have more space for each vendor but don't charge them more. To be blunt, it was very difficult to get into the little vending areas and really check things out. Perhaps there were less crowded periods but for the hour we were there it was nearly impossible to move at times let alone really check out items. Open up the entire building if it is safe to do so. Not only could you give more space to each vendor but get more of them into the space.

3. Forget the heaters unless you plan to place a lot more of them. For all the good they did, it really was just a waste of energy. If you place one between every two vendors I bet that would have made a huge difference but it is February! Folks can just cope.

4. Strongly suggest that each vendor bring business cards or offer to list their websites or contact information on the website for this event.

5. Finally, you need some help with that traffic. It was fine to leave turning right but if you had to turn left it was a nightmare.

Here are some of the great things about the event.

1. Good mixture of products and they were mixed well so that there wasn't a food only court or the wall of wooden signs. This encouraged us to keep looking left and right.

2. Friendly vendors. Every maker we could get close enough to chat with was friendly and that doesn't always happen at these sorts of events.

3. Good music outside that didn't interfere with business inside. You have to be able to talk with vendors and your friends you came with but the music outside was a good introduction and break from the crowds.

4. Easy to find location... at least from where we live. It only took a few turns and we found the venue.

If you went to Woolery Market last weekend what did you think of it? Leave a comment and let us know!

2 comments:

Emilie Johnson said...

My mom and I went right when they opened, and it was already crazy busy. It was too crowded to really look, even right at 10 am. I totally agree with you about using the whole space and having someone directing traffic. My mom, a retired nurse, was seriously worried that some of the vendors would get frostbite if they stayed there the whole day. It was very cold, and some of them weren't dressed very warmly. I guess they were too optimistic about how much the patio heaters would help.

TammyJo Eckhart said...

I was thinking there would be more heaters considering the event repeatedly advertised that it would be warm regardless of the weather.I think they underestimated a great deal in that regard.

Thanks for commenting, Emilie!

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