Main Street Market Day success for Welcome to Winters

Bill Hancock
Runnels County Register
Merchants at Welcome to Winters' Main Street Market Days brought everything from clothing to jewelry to Mexican spices to the event.

The intermittent rains couldn't dampen the festivities at the Main Street Market Days in Winters. The event to help support local merchants was organized by Welcome to Winters, a group of merchants who are working to bring business to this small town of just over 2,000 people. This was the first time the event was held, with many merchants and vendors enjoying the success that it brought.

Angela New, owner of Gypsy Threads, was one of the organizers for the event, "The rain started as soon as everyone got set up. I was really worried it would hinder the outcome, but I was wrong. It was amazing seeing everyone come out and support this, even while it was raining. I was really impressed with the turnout."

Merchants from Abilene and Midland set up at the Welcome to Winters' Main Street Market Day event on Saturday.

Cars lined both sides of the street, with many of the people heading over to the Winters VFD fundraiser where burgers and fries were the name of the game. People weathered the inclement weather when as the rains came and went so that they wouldn't lose their place in line.

Melinda Meyers, owner of Cup of Joe, was one of the organizers of the shopping extravaganza, "I feel the turn out was great. This was the first Market Days and I think people were excited to have something different in Winters. The rain kept some of our vendors at home but the traffic of customers seemed to be great. There again I think people in Winters are ready for something different to be here. Having it downtown I hope helped the local businesses, too. The vendors all gave positive feedback about their sales. That’s what we wanted to do here so that they will come back next month. My coffee shop was busy and the vendors in the back sold merchandise, too. That’s exactly what I wanted to happen. People in Winters have always supported our VFD and having the Market Days and the hamburger fundraiser worked perfect together.

The line for burgers and fries at the Winters VFD's fundraiser on Saturday. Welcome to Winters hosted Main Street Market Days that coincided with the fundraiser.

Christina Davis of the Winters VFD commented on the success that they had this year, "The Winters Volunteer Fire Department has been hosting their hamburger fundraiser on the first Saturday in May for decades now. Until this year, the Chamber of Commerce has worked with us and allowed our Hamburger luncheon to be the exclusive food vendor as it’s one of our biggest fundraisers for our department. Despite the much needed rain and other food vendors in town - we had one of the most successful events yet! Our community supports and always shows up for these guys. We absolutely couldn’t be happier or more thankful."

Volunteers with the Winters VFD grilling some burgers for the hungry customers during Welcome to Winters' Main Street Market Days.

New says that the rain didn't dampen the spirits of the merchants and vendors, "All of the other merchants seemed to enjoy the event. They were so positive during the times it was raining and kept great attitudes. Each vendor said they did really well and asked to be put down for our next event Saturday, June 12th."

New said that she feels having Market Days in conjunction with the Winters VFD fundraiser helped both events, "I think Market Days and the VFD complimented each other very well. We had people come down and shop after they got their burgers from the VFD and shoppers/vendors that went down to the VFD to get burgers. We had vendors come from surrounding towns and as far as Dripping Springs and Midland. They loved our little town and how well we all supported one another. Our local businesses downtown supported our vendors and vice versa. The Attic, The Rustic Hue, Heidenheimer's and The Lone Star diner all advertised sales/specials to attract customers. The coffee shop had a line out the door almost the entire time. Melinda said that while customers were waiting on their coffee, they would go to the back and shop the permanent vendor booths, too. I was told that Casa Cabana Restaurant at the far end of town was busier than normal as well. The support from the entire community was amazing."

The Lone Star Diner posted on social media that they raised $400 for the Winters Lions Club and VFD. Several local businesses held raffles for gift certificates. The Lone Star Diner also held a lunch special and a drawing for a chance to win a gift certificate during our Market Days. Proceeds were donated to Lions Club and the Winters VFD.

The Winters VFD, along with local merchants, raised hundreds of dollars for the department with their burgers and fries fundraising lunch.

New commented about the positive impact that merchants joining forces can have on small businesses, "Small businesses are the heart and soul of the community and they need each other. It is so rewarding watching our local businesses and our sidewalk vendors (that are also small businesses owners) join forces in the planning of Main Street Market Days events. We are very blessed to be a part of a community of small businesses supporting other small businesses."

Welcome to Winters is a separate organization from the Winters Chamber of Commerce. The chamber held a Cinco de Mayo Menudo cook-off at the park on Saturday.

The Next Main Street Market Days event will be on June 12. If you'd like information about the event, you can contact Angela New at 325-365-0978, or check them out on the Welcome to Winters Facebook page.