Two-day craft fair brings estimated 22,000 people to Bangor Mall
It seems the Bangor Mall was the place to be last weekend.
An event brought shoppers there from all over Maine and beyond.
"The mall opens at ten and quarter of ten Saturday morning, there was no parking spots. I knew then, oh, wow."
Kathy Harvey, owner of Furniture Mattresses and More, wanted to give back this season, and to her, the holidays mean crafts So, why not hold a craft fair at the mall.
"And I know crafters work hard. It's a labor of love. They work for pennies an hour. A lot of them don't even make minimum wage on what they create. And I thought, what better people to bless then our local crafters and bakers," she said.
To say her idea was a success would be an understatement. The craft fair brought 22,000 people here to the Bangor Mall.
"Every empty store in this place was full. Every spot inside the mall we could possibly fill, we filled," said Harvey.
"The economic impact for events like that that bring the community together in one central place really can't be overstated," said Tanya Emery, City of Bangor Director of Community and Economic Development.
Because those thousands of people didn't just go to the mall, they went to other nearby businesses, hotels, and restaurants.
"Whether it's a quick coffee or stopping and having lunch somewhere or stopping into Lamey Wellehan to get shoes because you know winter is here."
Speaking of Lamey Wellehan,
"Overall to describe it, crazy," said Shawn Cahill, Store Manager of Lamey Wellehan Shoe.
They tell us it was their busiest Veterans Day Weekend yet. Something their associates making commission sure loved.
"It was awesome, though, truly. Our sales, foot traffic, overall compared to last year, compared to years before," said Cahill.
"I think it truly enabled a lot of different vendors to display their craft," said Lois Warren.
And for vendors like Warren and her family, who have been selling their handcrafted wooden stools for more than three decades, it was an opportunity she's grateful for especially because this event was free for crafters and for shoppers, all funded by Furniture Mattresses and More and Harvey.
"She gave her heart and soul," said Warren.
"I'm just humbled by the whole event and I just want to wish the best to all the crafters. They're just awesome to work with," said Harvey.
Harvey says they will be doing this again next year. There are already more than 900 vendors interested. She says they're working on ways to make things smoother for everyone next year.