HOUSTON- The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was one of the first major local events to get canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak. Some people were disappointed to miss out on the concerts and food, but for some vendors, the cancelation meant a major loss of income.
“It’s devastating. Just like all of the other vendors there at rodeo. It was just a shock,” explained Christie Gunter, owner of local gift shop China Baroque.
Gunter says sales at rodeo usually made up about 35% of her revenue for the year. The loss won’t be completely recouped, but she has gotten more online sales thanks to a Facebook page started by two local women.
“We got it up and going and within a couple of hours we had thousands of Houstonians here that were wanting to get behind, rally for those Houston Rodeo vendors and show their support,” said Nicole Lopez, one of the founders of the group.
The page quickly grew to more than 170,000 members. The vendors can post pictures of their rodeo booths and links to their pages, showing customers what they have for sale.
“They’re telling us, ‘We’ve never had this type of interest, even being at the rodeo for so many years, thank you so much…We’ve been a family business for multiple generations and this really saved us’,” explained Cara Adams, another founder of the group.
“It’s been really fulfilling to know that we’ve been able to make an impact during this really uncertain time,” said Lopez.
Nicole, Cara, and other group administrators spend hours each day facilitating the page. Now that the rodeo is over, they’ve opened the group to vendors that were supposed setting up shop at the now canceled Spring Nutcracker Market and Round Top Antiques Fair.
“It’s just a great community effort on their part to bring all these people, you know give them a little big back from what they lost,” said Gunter.
The page has brought a boost to the economy and a boost in morale through these tough times.
“I think it is really showing how many people in Texas just really love to support their neighbor,” said Adams.
If you would like to do a little shopping, or if you were a vendor that was registered to set up at shop at one of the mentioned shows, search for the Texas Festival Vendors group on Facebook!