Breckenridge Texan

City expands Breck Trade Days to monthly event

City expands Breck Trade Days to monthly event
December 20
13:31 2017

Shoppers browse the booths at the December Breck Trade Days, above. In the top photo, a vendor paints a shopper’s face at his art booth. Starting in January 2018, Breck Trade Days will be expanded to every month and offer no-charge booths to vendors. (Photos by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Almost three years after Breck Trade Days was launched, the City of Breckenridge is implementing some changes with the intention of revitalizing the event and bringing more vendors, as well as shoppers, to town.

Beginning in January, not only will Breck Trade Days be scheduled for every month, but booth space will be free of charge for non-reserved spots, which City Manager Andy McCuistion hopes will bring in more vendors and, in turn, more shoppers. The change will enable smaller businesses and even local residents with garage sale-type items to set up booths at the event.

“In fact, we need that kind of stuff down there,” McCuistion said.

The proposed changes were first presented to the Breckenridge City Commission at the Nov. 7 meeting, and an ordinance replacing the original Breck Trade Days plan was approved by the commissioners at their Dec. 5 meeting.

Breck Trade Days was started in 2015 with four three-day events scheduled in March, June, September and December. In 2017, it was offered in six months of the year – March, April, May, September, October and December – but dropped down to only two days for each event, Friday and Saturday.

Next year, Breck Trade Days will be a monthly event, on the third Saturday each month. The 2018 schedule has Trade Days planned for Jan. 20, Feb. 17, March 17, April 21, May 19, June 16, July 21, Aug. 18, Sept. 15, Oct. 20, Nov. 17 and Dec. 15.

“The vendors plan ahead and plan which show they’re going to. Many of the vendors have said, ‘We wish you’d have this every month,’” McCuistion said. “So, we’re hoping that by doing this, it strikes a chord with some of these vendors and they say, ‘I’m going to Breckenridge every month.’ At the same time, when they start coming, we hope the shoppers will come. It’s a long-term strategy, that’s what it is.”

Although the vendor spots will be provided at no charge, those who want to reserve a specific spot at Breck Trade Days may pay $10 the month before to ensure they get the same lot. “But, if they don’t want to pay ahead, it will be a first-come-first-served,” McCuistion said.

Trade Days offers several types of vendor spots. There are 10-by-20-feet lots available inside the Trade Days barn and 15-by-20-feet lots outside. Additionally, there is an area specifically for livestock vendors and an area for food vendors.

WiFi, water and electrical services are available for the vendors to use. “We installed WiFi when we first set the thing up, so if they do their business on their cell phone or their computer, they have WiFi there,” McCuistion said.

Additionally, five RV spaces are available for vendors or shoppers who come in from out of town for Trade Days or other functions to stay in overnight while they’re participating in an event. Those spaces will cost $25 each.

“We’re not trying to open up an RV park; we’re just trying to provide a service to those folks who do come to our festivals and events in the park,” McCuistion said.

Although the 2018 Breck Trade Days will be only on Saturdays, vendors may start setting up on Friday afternoon. However, one of the changes from past years is that the City of Breckenridge will not provide overnight security. Vendors will be responsible for their own security.

The reason behind the changes is to implement a new business model for Breck Trade Days, cutting costs for both the vendors and the City while continuing to encourage shoppers.

“My strategy is to let it build up on its own,” McCuistion said. “So far, what we’ve done has not been successful in that it’s not grown like we’d have liked for it to have done. And, so we’re cutting our costs for people to participate in it but also allowing them the ability to continue participating in it.”

McCuistion said his plan is for the event to grow in scope. “These things, especially starting from scratch, where you’re not branded and people don’t know you’re there, it takes a while to get that established,” he said. “When it gets big enough that it requires that we either enlarge it to go to Friday again or that we need to step in and have more staff there, then we can do that. If it gets big so that everybody’s making money, then I’ll probably increase the rates a small amount and try to let it continue to build on its own.”

The plan is to focus on drawing in more vendors with the free vendor spots and to market it to residents in Breckenridge and the surrounding counties. “My idea is that the customer base will be local, from this county and the surrounding counties,” the City Manager said. “I’m going to bring it back in closer until we can get some local support first. Then, if it gets to really going well, then I’ll broaden my field.”

Prior to coming to Breckenridge, McCuistion served as the City Manager of Canton, which hosts the monthly First Monday Trade Days, an event with a history dating back 150 years. He said that, based on his observations, some of the most successful vendors in Canton were the outdoor vendors.

“When I say ‘outdoor vendors,’ I’m talking about the kind of product the outdoor vendors sell, like the tools and the hats and the sunglasses and the traps and anvils, used boots, all the kind of stuff the outdoor vendors bring,” he said. “People like to browse that stuff and look at it and buy it. We need outdoor vendors, as well as indoor vendors.”

For more information about Breck Trade Days, call the City of Breckenridge at 254-559-2012.

 

Story by Tony Pilkington and Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

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