Craft market another COVID casualty

| 10/02/2021 | 42 Comments
Cayman News Service
A stall at the Cayman Craft Market

(CNS): The Tourism Attraction Board (TAB) is formally shutting down the Cayman Craft Market and looking for an alternative way of helping the vendors, as it becomes increasingly apparent that it will be a long time before cruise tourism returns to Cayman. The sellers at the market, given the location, were heavily dependent on cruise traffic. However, the board now says it will look at helping them get in front of residents instead through other means.

TAB said vendors had a soft re-opening of the market in preparation for the return of tourists in March, based on the governments plans for the next phase. But now things have changed, a decision has been made to close the market and find alternate ways vendors can showcase their arts and crafts at events at the TAB’s other attractions, the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park and Pedro St. James.

The market had been closed since the onset of the pandemic and the March lockdown last year. After Premier Alden McLaughlin’s comments that there will be little or no cruise tourism before 2022, it is clear that the vendors need a new customer base.

TAB Director Patrick Thompson said the vendors are working on developing new products and reinventing themselves, as most businesses and entrepreneurs have done over the last year. But with businesses closed all along the waterfront for almost a year, there is no local traffic to sustain the market.

“It is a mutual decision between the TAB and its Craft Market Vendors to once again close our offerings until we can all welcome visitors back to our shores in reasonably large numbers,” Thompson said.

TAB will also look to host pop-up events for its vendors and other local businesses as the opportunities arise.

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Category: Business, Small Business

Comments (42)

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  1. ELVIS says:

    Make it into an outdoor nightly fish fry and lobster, conch like Nassau.

    awesome place there. we went every night. great local food outdoors must have been 40 restaurants there. surely there’s room for 4 or 5 in that space?

  2. Janet says:

    good day the bible say by the sweat of yoùr you shall eat bread there’s are a lot of people at the craft market who hand make there’s things burned there finger some time injury there’s self to make things to sell at the craft market form you can explain what it’s made of and the time and love you putting in it the t
    vitior are our an island guests are happy to buy it with a willing hart

    • Anonymous says:

      This place should not be Cayman Craft market. Should be called a flea market. Where is the old ladies that make thatch bags? or the man with the gigs, or them prisoners that makes Jewelry boxes and that lady that does recycled belts and turtle shell stuff and rope makers that you see at pirates week? if you are in Cayman at a cayman market, people expect to see the Cayman style stuff. Tab should be shame.

  3. anon says:

    Sigh—, give them a weekly stipend from our ever decreasing deficit.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The only thing unique I’ve ever seen at the craft market or souvenir shops was a Christmas tree ornament of a Santa humping a cruise ships funnel.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Amen! Excellent observation!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Who buys/bought any of that tat anyway? Garbage.

  7. Anonymous says:

    As someone who lives outside the Islands but likes to support crafts in the OTs. The Tourism Attractions Board could help crafts people by providing an on-line marketplace where they guaranteed that the crafts people were based in the islands.

  8. Anonymous says:

    They could atleast bedazzle the conch shells.

    • Anonymous says:

      That would defile their natural beauty

      • Anonymous says:

        No one gives a shit about conch shells anymore. Its 2021.

      • Anonymous says:

        A local would never buy a conch shell. We have seen thousands in our lifetime. Bedazzle the damn conch shell and maybe id pay $4 for it.

    • Anonymous says:

      The conch are already endangered on the island. As soon as we start to see wildlife as dollar signs, there won’t be any left here. Crafts made with animals or where local resources are used in a non-sustainable way should be banned from sale on the island.

      • Anonymous says:

        The conchs will continue to be caught unless it becomes illegal to do so. After cleaning I just throw the shells into shallow water, and the craft people come and collect them. The crafts have zero impact – there’s literally no one catching conch solely for shells when people discard dozens every day.

        • Anonymous says:

          Who would think they are allowed to catch and discard dozens a day? With a 5 per person, or 10 per boat max (during season), it would be impossible to clean more than 10 after a day on the water. Maybe the inability to count to ten is the problem?

        • Anonymous says:

          There have been a few incidences of poachers keeping the shells and the meat. But you are correct. There is a large legal trade in shells as a byproduct of the legal personal conch meat harvest that will continue regardless of the sale of conch shells or not.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The important human and social detail that is “quality of life” has been an afterthought to governmental and developers for decades. Grand Cayman does not offer a recognizable arts, entertainment, live music, district. The patchwork of scheduled happenings are ineffectively promoted, through private, and unreliable government media, and spread over miles as a result of having no centralized developmental vision. Even the signature Kaboo site, which might have been used for a multitude of other social interest (and tourism) purposes (eg. equestrian events, smaller concerts, carnivals, and fairs), was disassembled, fenced-off and left to grow over, while awaiting the developmental plan and limited attention span of the DRCL C-suite. The Corporate Social Responsibility budgets of our major developers and corporations is disproportionately small as a percentage of profits and almost none of it goes into the arts, entertainment, cultural and social well-being of our people, that hole is filled with problematic institutionalized corporate-sponsored drinking events (and then the driving, domestic abuse etc). At the end of the day, what is the value proposition of buying a $10mln condo bundled to an island with a limited scope of offerings, and no plan to remedy the human and social factors that are missing? Who is supposed to be in charge of that? Not the Planning Department, that’s for sure!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I say good! It is high time we get rid of all the higglers!

  11. SSM345 says:

    Nothing about this market was “local” other than its location; same crap being sold in every other port of call; just with a different islands name on it; much like the jewelry and souvenir shops that are found in every single port…

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, I might feel more empathy if the products were local. But Governments over the years have done little to support local cottage industries and instead imposed tariffs and other measures to suppress local artisans!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic location for a Farmers and Artisans Market (producers and artisans, not resellers) on Saturdays if we could get help with the parking challenge.

    • Anonymous says:

      Saturdays, to serve weekend shoppers in a more relaxed setting.

      Thursdays, to serve the persons working/shopping in GT.

    • Anonymous says:

      Already have one of those, with better parking, at the Cricket Pitch.

      • Anonymous says:

        Too many re-sellers there

        We are talking about a producers and artisans market

        Quite different the Cricket Pitch Market

      • Anonymous says:

        Clearly you don’t know what you are talking about 1:17pm

  13. Anonymous says:

    The market has been non-functional even at the best cruise ship days. Very questionable manager, with vendors offering Jamaican and Asian artifacts on a local craft market
    When talking to the Vendors their morale is low with a mixture of resentment, boredom and disappointment.

    There are numerous opportunities for improving and growing this market but not under the existing circumstances.

    • Anonymous says:

      The wrong vendors are there selling the wrong products. If you offer junk you won’t get many sales. And their customer service skills don’t encourage any sales. The last time I went there to look around it actually felt a little threatening and I felt uncomfortable browsing the stalls. Such a shame because its a prime location right in front of holiday makers desperate to buy but the vendors aren’t welcoming and just slap out the same old worn our junk week after week. I don’t know who vets the sellers and their wares, but it needs someone to manage it with a stronger hand if they want to make it a success.

      • SSM345 says:

        Same thing happens in Jamaica but on a wholly different level….it can be quite scary visiting local markets over there…..I no longer do……and that’s where most of these vendors are from so people are experiencing the same tactics/attitude in Cayman.

  14. Anonymous says:

    What is going to happen to the Caymanian manager? He run that place good. Na true?

  15. Anonymous says:

    there is no local traffic.

    What’s the problem?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Another casualty! 🥲 There is going to be nothing left by time tourists return. This is just heartbreaking!

  17. Anonymous says:

    That craft market is a great place for the fish market to go! There’s lots of space and even some parking too.

    • Anonymous says:

      Great idea then we can all go swimming on the fishmonger beach once it is tidied up. It looks trash at the moment. Government should do something about it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not the way those guys operate.

    • Anonymous says:

      That land doesn’t belong to Government. It’s leased on a peppercorn lease by a local family for the specific purpose of a craft market.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Locals don’t want tacky, over priced souvenirs which were mostly imported.

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