Despite the cancellation of Elkford’s annual Wildcat Days, the Elkford Chamber of Commerce ensured the yearly craft fair continued to run. Held online via the Shop Local Elkford BC Facebook group from June 21 to June 28, this year’s craft fair saw 22 vendors from Cranbook, Elkford, Fernie, and Sparwood selling everything from nail polish to clothing and empanadas. While the Facebook group is typically open only for residents of Elkford, the chamber opened it up to the public for the duration of the event.
“For some small businesses, especially those selling homemade items, it is hard to be able to get back out there after the pandemic,” said Shawna Bryant, executive director of the Elkford Chamber of Commerce. “Also, for many vendors, Facebook does not make it easy to reach a lot of people. These craft markets really help with promotion and marketing for those vendors. With our page reaching from Cranbrook to Pincher Creek, it is a great platform for them to be able to sell to people they normally can’t reach.”
With businesses being hit hard due to the pandemic, the chamber loosened vendor restrictions, in the hopes of helping all interested businesses get back on their feet. This year’s vendors included Elk Valley Custom Creations, who makes custom stickers, decals and woodwork. The Bath Shack also participated, selling bath bombs, body butters, and other bath products, as did Sunrise Blvd Jewelry Co, selling dainty handmade jewelry.
While there was no silent auction this year, the chamber organized daily contests to increase public participation. Each contest winner received a prize pack full of items donated by the vendors. Contests included leaving reviews, inviting more members to join the Facebook group, sharing vendor posts, and other supportive efforts promoting vendors and increasing site traffic.
According to Bryant, the event was well received by both vendors and clients, garnering a worthwhile online turnout. Many vendors have expressed gratitude to the craft fair for the inclusion of new clientele and increased business traffic.