September saw us attend a total of six different venues over a total of eight vending dates. August 2017 totaled seven different vending dates at just two different venues so in comparison, we put on a lot more miles in September and attended three big events. What added to the excitement in September was that we also attended two brand new events for us.
Here is a weekly breakdown of our busiest month to date:
September 2 – Oliver Indoor Flea Market
This was the fourth and final Saturday of a four-week test run we put in place at a site we have had a great deal of interest in being a regular vendor. The ‘test’ proved early in the four Saturdays we committed that we could easily turn this venue into a long-term regular vending location. It was also a test run for us as new Watkins consultants and it did very well.
September 3 – Okanagan Falls Community & Farmers Market
This was the final Sunday of the 12-week season for this venue. Last year we started late in the season here. This year we did the full three months and had an overall good experience. There were some really slow days and some really exceptional days. It was a fun venue to attend but by the end of the 12-week season both George and I were looking forward to other events.
September 9 & 10 – Princeton Fall Fair
We have supported this event in our home community for several years going back to our days when we owned a local newspaper. We have vended here with JamBusters! a couple of times now. It’s a great venue, it is close to our home so we do not have to account for a long road trip and there are many other pluses here. Traffic appeared down but our sales were good.
September 16 – Similkameen Sizzle, Keremeos
This would have been our third appearance at this well-known annual pepper festival. We generally set a one day sales record here and broke that record this year. We have been associated with this event since its inception so it is usually a good experience for us. JamBusters! even won another award – Best Hot Jelly with our Ghost Pepper Jelly.
September 23 – Lower Nicola Garlic Festival
We could only attend the Saturday of this two-day event. It was a new one for us, although we have vended in this community a few times before. We usually have good support here and our first try at this event was not disappointing. We also had Watkins products on site which enhanced our numbers. We will be keeping this event on our annual calendar, for sure!
September 24 – Grist Mill Heritage Fair, Keremeos
This was another new event for us. We had both JamBusters! and Watkins on site in a stunning outdoor setting. Sales were better than we expected and many knew us from our attendance at the pepperfest earlier in the month. This event also marked the official end of our outdoor vending season for the year. It was a nice way to finish with a solid day of support.
September 30 – Oliver Indoor Flea Market
After the encouraging support for both JamBusters! and Watkins in Oliver during our four week test run in August and early September, we decided to switch to a regular indoor season of vending at this location. It gives us a handy Saturday/Sunday schedule without having to keep packing product up and transporting it elsewhere or back home. We look forward to being here.
The Downside To All This Busyness
While both George and I are excited about how strong a foothold our vending business is getting in the region, there is a downside. I have found myself working more and more in the kitchen in order to either keep up or stock up. September was an insanely busy month for me with canning. In addition to picking up extra supplies, it also meant making more and more product.
On top of all that, I also had to find some new-to-us recipes in order to add new products to the JamBusters! line. I did rather well in that department, and George agrees. I added new items for both the pepper and garlic festivals in the month. Plus, I am starting to ‘target’ the product line a bit more to the specific event we are attending. This has helped in defining the product line.
It has been a very good year for both George and I with JamBusters! and we both see great potential with our Watkins line as well. We did take some time off this month (October 2017) in order to get in a rest before we embark on a full winter season of vending weekends in Oliver and a couple of other additional spots before Christmas with the JamBusters! product line.