Christmas craft fairs important to small business

By Melissa Heald
Nov. 5, 2014

Bonny Hawkes is no stranger to the craft fairs in Charlottetown. The New Brunswick native has been attending the craft fair at the Eastlink Centre for the last 15 years.
“It’s nice. People are friendly and they get to know me after a few years and come back looking for me,” said the owner of Bonny Hawkes Crafts.
Hawkes was one of many exhibitors taking part in Christmas at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown on Nov 1 – 2 as eager shoppers were on the hunt for Christmas gifts.
Craft fairs are an important aspect of her business, said Hawkes, who makes and sells homemade sewing crafts.
She attends at least 20 fairs a year, travelling as far as Newfoundland, but the ones at Christmas are the best because she makes more money selling Christmas items, said Hawkes.
Gerard Cormer of New Brunswick agrees craft fairs are a good source of revenue for him and his mini-cheesecake business, especially the fairs just before Christmas.
The owner of D.R.E.A.M Cheesecake in Moncton has been attending the fair at the Eastlink Centre for the last five years. And every year they have repeat business, said Cormer.
“There are people who show up that tell us they’ve come to the fair just to get our product.”
It’s very rewarding because it lets him know he has a good quality product, he said
“Other wise people wouldn’t be returning.”
Jocelyne McGraw also gets repeat business.
“After several years, we start to recognize faces and they will ask us where we are next and then they will follow us,” said the operator of Candy Village Fudge Shop in Grand-Barachois, N.B. It sells soft fudge made from sugar and butter.
They do a little bit of wholesale, but fairs are where they do must of their business, said McGraw.
“We started last week and we go to the first week of December.”
It’s hard work, but it’s a labour of love, said McGraw.