Anyone who knows anything knows hat the biggest antique show in the whole country is the Brimfield Antique Festival. It’s held 3 times a year and it’s huge. The town of Brimfield, MA gets gridlocked while over 500,000 people look for old, smelly, expensive crap. They got money, they get hungry. Get yourself a spot and you can retire in Flordia once it’s done. (Do the math! [uh-oh, we've screwed up before] Let’s be reasonable this time, say..only 50,000 people buy a $4 bag = WOO HOO!)
Problem is, Brimfield spots are highly desireable. Apparently people have held onto food spots for their entire lives. How do you get in? I shoot off a email to all the people in charge of their areas. (It’s that big, no one person runs it.) A guy by the name of Ed calls me back. He runs the FOOD COURT (it’s smack dab in the middle of everything) and says that his kettle corn guy won’t be there in the fall, do I want the spot? [HOLY CRAP] DO I???
We make it down there for the summer event to say hello to Ed and check out the spot. There’s someone selling “Maple Kettle Corn” at the moment, and we ply the guy for all sorts of information. We try some of his maple kettle corn. Eh, it’s alright. You kinda get overwhelmed with the maple flavor. It’s not as snarfable as good ol’ regular kettle corn. Ed gives us the spiel. It’s $2,200 for all 6 days of the event. They supply water and electricity AND an RV spot. We don’t need any of that, but what the hell. OK, let’s do the math again: we’re $360 in the hole BEFORE we make a dime……EACH DAY. “About how much do the other vendors make?” I ask Ed. “Those guys (selling pizzas and subs) can make anywhere to about 14 grand a week here.”
OK, more math: $14,000 – $2,200 = $12,000 profit for one weeks worth of work. WOO HOO! Ed wants someone who wants to do all three shows a year! ($12,000 x 3 = $36,000 Holy double crap!) OK, we’re in! By this point we’ve saved up about 2 grand from our farmers market gigs. It’s like the stock market…we’re not spending our money, we’re INVESTING IT.
We scramble to get all the permits in with the health department. I figure if it rains, we might need another tent to keep everything dry. We noticed that it got kinda cramped in our little tent when it pours. I also bought a huge 10′ banner that says KETTLE CORN. Now we look legit. How are we gonna spend our 12 grand at the end of the week?
The first few days were alright. We had Velma, Steve and I working at the same time. Steve would do his thing and give out free samples and schmooze with the crowd. We were right in the middle of everything, and also right in the middle of the food court. Tons of people all around us. We also noticed that there were TWO other kettle corn vendors, just up and down the street from us. OK, fine. We also noticed that people didn’t really want kettle corn when they’re looking for lunch. We noticed that sales picked up a lot at the end of the day when the crowd was heading back to their cars. We make our money back each day and then another $300-$400. (Hmmmm…the math says we each made about $100 a day. I’ve had an easier time making that amount sweeping floors.)
That saturday was nuts. Velma was cursing that I ever got her into this “scam”. Shoveling kettle corn the entire day non stop. Steve hardly gave out any samples, they just lined up. (This was how it was supposed to be, right?) Sunday ends up being a short day ’cause everyone wants to clear out of there.
All total? We spent 2 grand to make 2 grand. Divide that up by 3 people and you get what? An average wage? I’ve certainly found easier ways to make that amount. Definately think that the other kettle corn vendors had something to do with it. I saw plenty of people walking past us already holding a bag of kettle corn. I find out after the fact (from the other vendors) that MANY kettle corn vendors have gone through that same spot and basically did what we did. That was probably the reason why Ed was looking for someone to be there all year.
OK, so the big time wasn’t that lucrative. At least we weren’t in the hole for our efforts. Boy, paying $15 for a spot at a farmers market and having loyal customers come up to you isn’t too bad after all.