Friday, April 16, 2021

ANCA’s Annual Artisan Trade Show Goes Virtual 

Retailers can shop remotely at this year’s Adirondack Buyer Days 

Carrying on a tradition that builds lasting relationships between artisans and retailers, this year’s Adirondack Buyer Days wholesale gift show will take place virtually for the first time in its 35-year history. The virtual marketplace, which is hosted by the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA), is open to regional makers and retailers seeking local products for their shops. 

After cancelling last year’s show due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ANCA staff have redesigned the 2021 Adirondack Buyer Days to accommodate participants in a safe and convenient online setting. The virtual event, set for April 20 and 21, will offer the same opportunities for interpersonal interaction, relationship building and product marketing the annual show has provided makers and retailers since 1986. 

Lauren Richard, ANCA’s artisan programs coordinator who has organized the show over the last seven years, said the virtual platform could expand participant access and engagement. “One positive aspect of COVID is that more people can participate in just about anything that’s gone virtual,” she said. “Buyers can attend this show from anywhere and at their convenience. They can even shop in their pajamas!” 

Aware that virtual events can present challenges for some — limitations with internet connectivity, comfort with technology and other responsibilities at home — Richard has selected an event management tool that is easy to use. “We are so happy the platform we’re using is straightforward. BoothCentral has excellent technical support professionals on board to help with any troubles that may arise,” she said. 

Since retailers will not have to travel to a physical location, artisan vendors and event organizers hope for high attendance at this year’s show. Those who have never attended the show due to distance, time commitment or financial constraints are free of those barriers with the virtual model. The virtual platform allows buyers to browse exhibitor booths, video chat live with exhibitors and view vendor profiles for more information about their business and products. 

“We are excited to be roaring into the twenties virtually with Adirondack Buyer Days,” said Brent Carbino, co-owner of Canton-based Tucker Spring Organics and an Adirondack Buyer Days vendor since 2015. “We feel that the live online platform will broaden accessibility to buyers and strengthen online business networking opportunities in the future.” 

Tucker Spring owners Brent Carbino and Chad Graham, also known as “The Soap Guys,” have been producing handcrafted, cruelty-free soaps and skincare products since 2011. Since their soaps received enormous support from the local community, they have expanded their product line to offer lotions, sugar scrubs, deodorants, homeopathic salves, muscle balm, bug repellant and room and body sprays. They have recently added regionally themed products such as the Adirondack Collection and the Out of the Woods Apothecary Chaga-infused skincare line. 

More than 300 people attended the most recent in-person show in 2019, including 92 vendors and over 250 retailers from shops in New York and neighboring states. “Making the show small enough to fit the State’s COVID-19 guidelines would have been prohibitive,” said Richard. “A virtual version of the event can accommodate a lot more buyers who want to connect with talented artisans from around the region.” 

Adirondack Buyer Days is a nonprofit, juried trade show featuring makers of high-quality handmade gifts from northern New York and northern New England. Product categories include housewares, personal care, value-added foods, garden and outdoors, apparel, jewelry, stationery and more. The show is wholesale only and not open to the public. Buyers from shops of all kinds are welcome to meet the makers and stock their shelves. To participate in the private event, retailers must register before the show, which will take place virtually on Tuesday, April 20 and Wednesday, April 21, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Buyer registration is free. 

To access the vendor application and buyer registration or to learn more about the event and sponsorship opportunities, visit www.adirondack.org/Adirondack_Buyer_Days or contact Lauren Richard at [email protected]. 

Photo: The Soap Guys of Tucker Spring Organics, Brent Carbino and Chad Graham, in their Canton, NY factory outlet, which they plan to open this fall. 

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