Holiday Market offers a chance to ‘buy local’ arts & crafts

Published 12:05 am Saturday, November 28, 2015

Event continues today in downtown Kannapolis

By Hugh Fisher

KANNAPOLIS — For those who wanted to shop on Black Friday while still buying local, the Kannapolis Holiday Market might be the best of both worlds.

And the bargains continue today, Small Business Saturday, from 10 am. to 5 p.m. at the former Cabarrus Bank building and at Rotary Hall, both in the 200 block of West Avenue in downtown Kannapolis.

Forty arts and crafts vendors, small businesses, wineries and fund-raising youths fill the two downtown locations.

During the first hour of the event Saturday morning, Mrs. Claus sat on a bench outside the old Cabarrus Bank, while Santa held court inside the building, posing for photos and asking kids what they want for Christmas.

Around the room, vendors were ready to deliver on those wishes for kids and grown-ups alike.

Although the arts and crafts bazaar has been held in different spots around downtown Kannapolis for the better part of a decade, this year’s event has grown due to the expected turnout and the number of businesses that wanted to take part, organizer Brenda Drye said.

Downtown Kannapolis, Inc. organizes the Holiday Market. “We’ve got four wineries, a bakery, local crafters and more,” Drye said. “It’s an opportunity to shop local, to buy handmade items from area artisans.”

For the businesspeople involved, it’s more than just a sales opportunity.

“I took a leap of faith!” said Shelley Stover, of Huntersville, an independent consultant for Usborne Books & More.

Her booth features a coloring station for kids to enjoy while their parents shop for books, or other gifts and goodies.

Stover sells activity books and kits that she said are designed to make reading more fun. “A lot of kids are reluctant readers,” she said.

The books she sells include such features as hidden messages that show up under a flashlight and, in one case, a wind-up ladybug that follows a path embossed into the heavy cardboard pages.

“So far, the kids are loving it,” Stover said. “I’ll have a fresh supply of books (Sunday).”

Cindy Hyland, owner of Touch of Elegance Florist of Concord, brought a host of holiday decorations and art, including handmade jewelry and paintings of snowmen.

Apropos of Thursday’s football victory over the Dallas Cowboys, some of her paintings feature Carolina Panthers blue and black colors.

“This is always a good show for me,” Hyland said, adding that she’s sold her wares for the last four years at the Holiday Market.

Anita Yost, co-owner of Cauble Creek Vineyard, said the benefits of the event go beyond the bottles of wine sold at the Holiday Market.

“The people we meet here, we’ll see them throughout the year at our business,” Yost said. “This is a unity of small businesses coming together to show people the products we have to offer here in our own county.”

Handmade gifts are plentiful, including some interesting and unique items. At the booth of Handcrafted Ink, customers could pick up a hand-carved wooden ink pen or, for technophiles, a wooden stylus for use with tablet computers.

“People are ready to do their Christmas shopping,” said Tony Smith, who runs Handcrafted Ink with her father, Larry Howard.

Three family members, each with their own hobby-turned-business sideline, combined forces at a booth for the Holiday Market.

Rusty Ritchie said he left a career in healthcare to start Ritchie Woodworks, making handcrafted signs, decorations and furniture.

He was joined by relatives Andrea Hafner, who makes handcrafted Christmas ornaments, and Karen Freeze, who has her own business, Sew Little and Sew Sweet, for hand-knitted goods.

Ritchie said being at the event is good exposure and that he’d already gotten some requests for custom orders.

“I love this,” said Hafner. We get to hang out with family and meet new people.”

Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.