Winters to host Main Street Market Days May 1st

Bill Hancock
Runnels County Register
Main Street Market Days will be a new monthly event in Winters. The event is schedule for the 2nd weekend of each month, with the exception of July, when the event will be set up around the Winters VFD fundraiser. This month the event is this Saturday, May 1st.

"COVID and the impact on the economy definitely played a role in the decision to hold this event," said Angela New, owner of Gypsy Threads in Winters. New, along with Melinda Myers, owner of Cup of Joe coffee shop, and Theresa Gerhart, owner of The Attic, are the driving forces behind the initiative.

Small businesses, the lifeblood of towns and communities such as Winters, bore the brunt of the economic impact from COVID-19. According to the Texas Comptroller, the state unemployment jumped to 13.5%, with the loss of 1.4 million jobs. According to a research paper posted on PNAS.org (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States), small businesses were effected in numerous ways by the pandemic, "The results suggest that the pandemic had already caused massive dislocation among small businesses just several weeks after its onset and prior to the availability of government aid through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Across the full sample, 43% of businesses had temporarily closed, and nearly all of these closures were due to COVID-19. Respondents that had temporarily closed largely pointed to reductions in demand and employee health concerns as the reasons for closure, with disruptions in the supply chain being less of a factor. On average, the businesses reported having reduced their active employment by 39% since January." The research was conducted by Alexander W. Bartik, Marianne Bertrand, Zoe Cullen, Edward L. Glaeser, Michael Luca, and Christopher Stanton, respectively.

The path to recovery from the economic devastation lies primarily in the hands of local business owners. New said that she had the idea for Market Days at the end of last year, "We had nighttime shopping in November and December and this idea popped up. We plan on holding it the 2nd Saturday each month. We wanted to start in January but had to wait. We plan on running this through October."

The only exception to the 2nd Saturday for Market Days will be in July, "The VFD has their fundraiser in July, so we are working together to set up in conjunction with their event," New said.

The planning is painstakingly thorough, with New and the other ladies putting in the leg work to ensure that everything is taken care of, "We approached all of the local businesses and they're all for it. They think that it's a great idea. Many business owners such as Joe Heidenheimer, owner of the Heidenheimer department store, support the idea and are excited about it."

The advertising that New and the others have done on their respective Facebook pages has paid off, "So far, we have 23 vendors lined up. We'll have food vendors, decor, pet supplies, clothing and even fishing lures. The husband of a lady, who lives at out Lake O.H. Ivie, passed away a few months ago. She will be here with fishing lures." It's not just local vendors that will be offering their wares, "We have some vendors coming from as far away as Midland."

Not only will there be the food vendors, the Winters VFD is setting up to sell hamburgers as part of their fundraising efforts.

In addition to the vendors, the local businesses will have giveaways as well as door prizes. New sees Market Days as a way to help everyone, "We just want to help our little town. We want to get people out and get them active. We want to fill up downtown again." New says that it's important to get people back in the stores, "During COVID, no one wanted to go inside buildings or stores. A lot of businesses, like mine, are based on these pop-up events. During these events, local businesses usually have good turnouts."

Winters Market Days will be Saturday, May 1st. Vendors, local businesses, the VFD fundraiser and a lot of good will from the people of the town will be on display.

You can keep up with the events in Winters by following the Facebook page set up by New and the others, Welcome to Winters."