CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Richard Borchard Fairgrounds hosts the Peddler Show a few times a year.
This weekend, the show allowed these “peddlers” or traveling salespeople like Bebette Hollier and her husband to showcase their business, Kracker Jack Kids.
They’ve been in the kids clothing business for over 40 years and said the pandemic took a hit on them financially like they had never seen before. They said the pandemic didn’t allow them to travel to sales shows because many of them were canceled.
“We don’t do quite as many shows as we did before because last year they had to stop doing some of the shows, so its kicked back up a little more this year,” Hollier said.
Hollier said while they haven’t gotten back to pre-pandemic sales, they are still seeing their sales steadily go back up because they are able to do in-person shows again.
Hollier and her husband have been married for almost 60 years. They said their business has allowed them to come closer together, and now that they’re back at the Richard Borchard Fairgrounds, they’re happy their business can flourish.
“We’re definitely bonded together. He had a regular job back home and then when he retired, we really started going on the road more,” Hollier said.
Kristine Larue is the owner of Mimi’s House Boutique from Alvin,TX, and was also in attendance at the Peddler show. She said business slowed down for her during the pandemic so she had to go virtual and showcase her products online and on social media, doing live virtual shows.
Larue said one of the things she loves about doing in-person shows is that she gets to interact with customers, and now that she’s back at the fairgrounds for the third year, she’s excited to get back her customers.
“I love to be around the customers. I love the reaction when people try clothes on and make them feel good. I don’t care if they ever buy anything while they’re in here. As long as I can make them feel better and fill them up while they’re here, that’s what it’s all about,” Larue said.
Brenda Neidhart, the owner of Canvas CraZee, a business that prints your pictures on a canvas once you’ve texted it to her, said her business wasn’t hit financially by the pandemic, but she missed engaging with her customers. She said she was able to print from the comfort of her own home, and said it was a way she could still connect with her customers.
“The best thing about it is every picture has a story, so people when they text me their picture, they’ll say 'oh this is my grandson’s wedding' or 'this is when we were on the lake at vacation' and it’s always a lot of great memories,” Neidhart said.