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Business owners, vendors divided over

The Festival on the Green this past weekend provided an opportunity for area residents and visitors to sample the sights and sounds of Farragut. While festival attendees heard the sounds of live music, the sound that many businesses and vendors heard was that of a cash register.

Area businesses and vendors at the show remained divided over whether Festival on the Green was a “festival of green” for their businesses.

Rosemary Floyd a member of the Tennessee Artists Association as well as a vendor, said inclement weather last year hampered her business.

“I think I sold around two-hundred dollars,” she said. “This year we haven’t done too badly.”

Floyd estimated all the artists made around $12,000 last year, compared to $22,000 the previous year.

“A lot of us come out here to support the association,” she said. “Ten percent of anything we sell goes back to the association.”

Sue Lane, a Fountain City resident and member of TAA, said financially she did well in her sales last year.

“Mostly I come out here because I love the people and the community,” she said. “We have a great time out here.”

Sherry Schrock, store manager for the Sweetwater Valley Cheese Shop in Farragut, said this is the second year she set up as a vendor for the Festival on the Green.

“Being out here last year was very profitable,” she said. “It helped to get our name out to the community.”

Schrock said she and her employees attend about 20 shows per year to get the word out about their business and all it has to offer.

She said she isn’t sure whether she will attend the Festival on the Green in 2007.

“We’ll just have to evaluate how things go from this year and go from there,” she said.

Isaac Wray, of the North Carolina-based Blue Ridge Apothecary, said business at the Festival on the Green was doing well.

“I just wish there had been more advertising to bring in more people,” he said.

Wray said he wasn’t sure if the business investment of participating in the Festival on the Green was going to be worth the investment in terms of financial return.

“ I don’t know about money, but it has been good in getting the word out,” he said.

Julie Ulucan repeated the advertising sentiment and said because of a lack of advertising, her business wasn’t doing too well at the festival.

Kathy Bradley, owner of Kathy’s Decorative Accents, said the festival may not prove profitable for her.

“I’m going to be happy to make my booth fee,” she said.

Despite the possibility of running into the red, Bradley said she would return again next year.

“The festival people have been really good to work with,” she said. “I’ll come back next year. I enjoy meeting people and making contacts.”

Making contacts is what a lot of the businesses said they enjoyed.

The networking at the festival helped to increase their business viability.

While vendors remained divided over their profit margin, established businesses, such as Homespun Craft and Antique Mall, said the Festival on the Green is very profitable and anticipated each year.

“Generally our vendors may do five thousand in sales over an entire weekend,” said Gene Wessel, owner. “We did five thousand just this Friday and I have been busy from the minute we opened. Our vendors look forward to this weekend and go all out, as you can see by all the items outside. They look forward to the festival every year.”


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