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Vendors lament declining sales at Kingston Craft Market

Published:Wednesday | February 24, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Nadisha Hunter, Gleaner Writer

"Sometimes all I make is $100, and that is when I am lucky to sell something."

Camille, a vendor at the Kingston Craft Market, has been frustrated by dwindling business and earnings she depends on for her daily survival.

The craft market has become one of the forgotten casualties of the ongoing economic crisis, with fewer and fewer consumers spending money at the various stalls inside.

On entering the market, shoppers are flocked by a host of vendors who desperately seek a sale. Baskets, plaques, even small items such as key rings are brought to the customer's attention while the vendors call for persons to 'bruck their ducks'.

Camille, who would not reveal her full name, told
The Gleaner
during a visit to the market yesterday that the behaviour of the vendors was a clear indication of how bad business has become at the market.

"Nothing not going on, even December to January when we would have a fast period, sometimes I go home without even selling a cent," she complained. Camille, who said she found it difficult to meet her daily needs and to support her child, said she was hoping for the best as she was unable to find another way to survive.

Vendor Pauline Dixon's faith is running out. She said she would have to discontinue business if she does not see a positive change.

"I have my grandchildren depending on me to go to school and for food and it is just not working out," she lamented.

Dixon said her grandchildren, who are solely dependent on her, are feeling the pinch as even their education is affected.

"Sometimes mi no bother send them to school, especially the little three-year-old, and sometimes I go to the school and ask the teacher to give them lunch," she said.

She said even her bills are piling up.

According to the vendors, the rent for the stalls has spiked by 50 per cent, forcing them to dig deeper into their pockets for money they don't earn each month at the location.

"Is three months' rent I owe and another month is coming up," Dixon said.

"Business is just bad and it gets worse every day," she added.

Waste of time

It is the same for Blossom Lamb-Evans, the past president of the Kingston Craft Market Association, who said it is merely a waste of time to journey to the market each day.

Lamb-Evans argued that, while business declines, there is no help from persons in authority.

"Nothing not going on. Sometimes for the entire week I don't sell anything. Is the worst I have ever seen since I am here over 50 years now and every day it gets worse," she added.

"The Government is not paying much attention to us down here," she argued.

"Something must be done for the Kingston Craft Market. Even the tourists don't visit this side anymore."

nadisha.hunter@gleanerjm.com