A Quick Review
This year started like most others where we were vending weekends as usual in the Yellow Room of the Oliver Indoor Flea Market in Oliver, British Columbia. We arrived on site late a couple of times due to road and weather conditions but still managed to open our booth and generate some sales. In mid-March, we missed a weekend when one of our outdoor freezers gave out on us and we rushed to process as much product as we could to reduce potential losses. That was an intense weekend of solid canning. Two weeks later, COVID-19 protocols forced a closure of the market. At first, George predicted a 6 to 8-week closure. It ended up lasting for a total of 14 weeks where we lost 28 vending dates.
The timing of the closure turned out to be good for us as in April George’s health took a turn (again) when he developed a blood clot in his right arm. In the hospital in Kelowna, he found out that his Afib had progressed to the point where it wore his heart out. He was down to 10% heart function when he got home but by this time he had a local doctor and a recovery plan to work with (this was not the case in November 2019 when he first went to the hospital in Penticton). We would have otherwise had to close our vending business so I could care for George at the time so the COVID-19 closure of the market took off a lot of pressure at the time. As summer approached, we considered vending at a local outdoor market (that had been approved with COVID restrictions in place) but it would have been far too much work for me to set up and tear down for one day of vending a weekend as George’s strength was still low. I took advantage of the extra time to complete my FoodSafe Level 1 course to add to my existing MarketSafe certification, so that was a positive to come out of the market closure.
In late June, the Oliver Indoor Flea Market reopened with COVID-19 restrictions in place. By this time we had moved our vending booth into the Main Building at 6005 Station Street, Oliver as the Yellow Room was no longer available to us. The pandemic closure forced a few vendors out of business making room for new vendors along with us. Our new location has been very successful and we finished 2020 strongly. I also picked up several Christmas orders going into December. I usually get the odd one but with so many people promoting the need to support small business during the pandemic, we saw an increase in that part of our business. Our Watkins business also grew considerably in the last half of 2020 with several vending dates where Watkins sales surpassed sales of JamBusters! products. The closure during 2020 also gave me a chance to explore many new recipes and I added a lot of new products to the JamBusters! inventory.
A Look At Some Numbers
December 2020 was a solid month although there were only 6 vending days (the market closed for the holidays December 26 and 27). The month saw a total of 132 jars sold with the best day of the month being Sunday, December 13, 2020, with 43 jars sold. The slowest day was Sunday, December 20 with 9 jars sold. In December, JamBusters! outsold Watkins on each of the six vending dates. As for the entire year, JamBusters! sold 943 jars (remember, there was a 14-week shutdown). For comparison, 2019 saw 1,458 jars sold, 2018 was 1,446 jars and 2017 was 1,265 jars. As for the move into the Main Building, our average sales figures went up. Over the 10 weekends in the Yellow Room from January to mid-March 2020, we sold an average of 20 jars where during the 26 weekends in the new location we sold an average of 28 jars (mid-June to December 2020). Our best day of 2020 was Saturday, August 29 with 44 jars sold. Our slowest day of the year was Sunday, July 26 with just 1 jar sold. We no longer get hung up on the stats, but it is nice to be able to track them to see if our business is growing or not. Just so you know, we started JamBusters! in 2014.
You Can Follow Us Online
JamBusters! has a fairly active online presence. If you would like to know what is coming out of the JamBusters! kitchen at any given time or when we are vending, all you have to do is follow us on our Facebook Page. Thank you for all your support in 2020. We know it’s been both a difficult and strange year for all of us. Hopefully, things change and we can get back to doing some of the things we used to do during 2021.