Over a dozen vendors object to market closure

| 22/02/2021 | 18 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cayman Craft Market

(CNS): More than a dozen regular sellers at the Cayman Craft Market and some intermittent users signed a letter objecting to the closure of the venue on 31 January, despite claims by the Tourism Attraction Board that a mutual decision had been made to close it. Just days before the TAB announced that the market was closing, the vendors sent a letter, dated 3 February, to Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell saying that they were extremely disappointed by the “disrespectful closure” of the market.

Contradicting claims by the TAB that the closure of the George Town location followed a failed soft opening, the vendors said that they had been delighted at the plan to re-open, which had given them “a wonderful sense of unity and normality”.

Pointing out their importance to Cayman’s tourism success and the branding of the islands’ tourism product, as well as their contribution to keeping local culture and heritage alive, the vendors urged the minister to intervene. Even though the borders are still closed, the vendors said that still want to use the facility to sell their wares and keep promoting the market to local shoppers.

TAB officials told CNS that the board members had been unaware of the vendors’ concerns before they held their meeting on 29 January, where they decided to close the market, but now that they are aware of this letter from currently active and licensed Craft Market vendors, they believe that it may be based on a misunderstanding that the market is closed for good, which is not the case.

According to the board, eight vendors were in attendance at the meeting and four more vendors spoke directly with the director afterwards.

“It was by unanimous decision that the CCM remain closed as the vendors stated it was not viable to continue coming out when they were not patronized at the level of what was hoped,” the TAB told CNS. The official decision to “close our offerings until we can all welcome visitors back to our shores in reasonably large numbers” was then agreed by the board and an announcement to this effect was made on 9 February.

One of the signators said that he had signed the letter before realising that the market was closing temporarily and not for good.

“On the 3 February we were told by the manager that he was made redundant and the CCM would be closing for good, and that is why I signed the document,” said John Schirn, a Craft Market vendor since 2006. “On the 5th we were contacted by the TAB admin office and had a meeting with Director Thompson, who assured us that the market would not be closing down permanently but just closing until business would make it viable for us to be out there.”

He said it was after that meeting that the vendors agreed this would be a good plan of action.

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Category: Business, Small Business

Comments (18)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Interestingly none of those wanting so badly “to sell their wares and keep promoting the market to local shoppers” have shown up at the Farmer’s Market where there are customers every Saturday and the occasional other artisan vendor of stuff they made themselves. Perhaps the items marketed for tourists really are not appealing to locals. For some reason.

  2. Anonymous says:

    No loss. Blackpool type tat but with sunshine.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Place was closed for 10 months (!) and they just worrying about this now? Aren’t they eligible for the $1000 (oops now $1500) from the same Minister of Tourism they are complaining to? CNS, do you know if the manager was paid a redundancy fee? Because it seems to me, they should ALL be careful not to “bite the hand that feeds them”.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Certified vendors couple times a month

  5. Anonymous says:

    Only thing “local” about that “market” is it’s location.

  6. ELVIS says:

    i think a craft market is a great idea in any town or city. however, selling a lot of things in markets and small stores posing as craft / souvenir places which sell things made in china . hong kong etc is a crying shame.
    plus lets face it where are the tourists? i feel for them but its life

  7. Anonymous says:

    If this market had authentically made local crafts, plants, pottery, paintings, all the things us locals would actually purchase locally- it would be great! But as others have mentioned, there’s mostly Asian made “Cayman Islands” lame touristy crap that nobody living here would actually walk around wearing or displaying in their homes… why? Because we know that crap wasn’t made locally! Make it a proper locally made products market and you will see traffic!

    • Anonymous says:

      There are so many talented local artists that I saw at the pop up events before Christmas that make and sell things you would actually buy for yourself or as a gift. They should be the main features in the craft market as opposed to resellers of Cayman Islands branded shot glasses.

    • Anonymous says:

      Trouble is there will soon be nothing here to make things of unless “Cayman Concrete”’is a locally made thing.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Maybe when it reopens they can get vendors to audition for the pitches and up the quality. These are highly coveted and valuable positions right in the middle of the tourist area. It deserves to be properly managed and have high quality vendors with high quality locally handcrafted goods. Not the dirty old imported crap the hostile sellers keep slumping behind every day with a sour look on their faces. Place has been an embarressment in the past and existing vendors should not automatically be given the chance to continue with the same old rubbish that didn’t sell even when there were thousands of visitors.

  9. Beijing exporter says:

    They have nobody to sell their “local” products to, but they do enjoy a get together and the chance to gossip. Without having to pay a “manager” I see no harm in letting them carry on, if that’s what they want to do.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I mean who is shopping there though? I drive past all the time and it’s empty. Might as well close until tourists are back.

  11. Anonymous says:

    TAB should do us all a favour and pay these vendors their receipted cost of goods to acquire all of the Cayman-branded Asian-sweatshop bullshit they are hawking, and then incinerate it all. We don’t need inauthentic pop-ups diminishing the intention of Red Sky at Night, Art market, or anywhere else. That’s why there is Cancun.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Does this place even need to be managed. What a waste of money. A manager to manage the higglers without any customers for the rebranded tourist stuff…SMH

  13. Anonymous says:

    With tourists still being kept out for the foreseeable future, who will be shopping at the market?

  14. Anonymous says:

    Why does it matter if they are there or not?

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