CTFP: Annual Holiday Market sets vendor record

Photo by John Rawlston/CTFP

Jewelry maker Susan Parry said she’s sad the Chattanooga Market’s winter season is over, not for business reasons, but for personal ones.

“I hate to see the season end,” Parry, owner of Susan Parry Designs with Torched in the Head Glass, said Sunday. “We become like family with each other — the customers, some of them become friends, so it’s a family reunion when you come down here.”

But Parry, a Signal Mountain resident and market vendor, said she’ll be back when the outdoor market reopens May 1, waiting on her friends to take a gander at her handcrafted jewelry.

Parry was one of about 200 vendors — a record for the market’s nine-year existence — at the First Tennessee Pavilion on Sunday for the Holiday Market, a two-day celebration of the market’s year and the holiday season.

“We’ve had a great time [this year], and we’re expecting next year to be even better,” said market [director] Chris Thomas.

Though the market will continue indoors at Warehouse Row for the next two weekends, this year’s Holiday Market was a “perfect ending” to the outdoor season, Thomas said.

“This is easily the largest amount of vendors we’ve ever had,” he said.

One way to judge the market’s year, Thomas said, is by sales. When Thomas bought the market three years ago, its annual sales were about $700,000. Since then, they’ve climbed to $1.7 million, he said.

Another success indicator Thomas pointed out was fundraising efforts: He said the market raised more than $200,000 for local charities this year.

“We’ve had a really strong couple of years,” he said.