Recalling how much success they had selling handmade goods at the original outdoor farmers’ market four years ago, a craft fair was recently added to the bottom floor of the indoor Riverhead Farmers Market.
The fair currently has between 20 to 25 craft vendors, said Ray Pickersgill, president of the Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association.
“When [potential merchants] call me, I ask what they have and if it sounds good I tell them to show up and grab a booth. We can fit 50 [vendors] down there,” he said, adding that he hopes to find more.
Mr. Pickersgill said he’d like to showcase certain types of crafts, specifically handmade American goods. This mentality, he said, has created what he calls “a nice blend” of merchants, including ones who sell homemade jewelry, framed photographs, doll clothing, items made from shearing animals including sheep and llamas, and locally made T-shirts.
In addition to craft vendors, Mr. Pickersgill said there are three not-for-profits located in the farmers’ market. These include the Kiwanis Club, which features a station where children can make crafts, and a group selling handmade African artifacts to raise money for AIDS patients.
There’s even a psychic on the building’s bottom floor.
“I know they bring big business in,” Mr. Pickersgill said. “Everyone wants to know their future.”
Santa Claus is also on hand Saturdays and Sundays this month to pose for free photos, he said.
Mr. Pickersgill said adding the craft fair has attracted a larger crowd to the market and introduced customers to different aspects of what Riverhead has to offer.
“I’m cross-pollinating my customer base,” he said. “People who come just for the craft fair end up in the farmers’ market or they come for the farmers’ market and end up in the craft fair. We’re very happy with the results.”
With the end of the year looming, Mr. Pickersgill said he has big plans.
“My goal is to get thousands of people from downtown,” he said. “So far, it works. Last year was successful and with the craft fair I expect it to be twice as successful this year.”
The Riverhead Farmers Market Craft Fair is located at 221 E. Main St. in Riverhead and is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.