Event cancellations during the COVID-19 crisis negatively impacts local jeweler

Northeast Alabama

JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. – During the COVID-19 crisis, no large gatherings are allowed. The new rule is causing some big problems for small online businesses who show off their merchandise at events like craft shows.

Mckenzie Wilbanks makes and sells her own jewelry. “Usually every day I’m planning shows, I’m processing orders, working on website online sales,” said Wilbanks.

She told WHNT News 19 that relies on events like craft shows to show and sell different pieces.

“That’s the only face-to-face interaction I get with customers because I am an online small-based company,” explained Wilbanks.

Wilbanks said dozens of the events she was scheduled to be at this year have already canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

“One local particular event on the square here in downtown, we’ve had it for several years, it’s going to be canceled. So what’s that’s going to do is there are a lot of businesses like Mckenzie’s business that she sells there,” said Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rick Roden.

“Those shows, I really rely on being a young business owner them to help pay my fees, like my website, and my packaging, my material. It really relies on that, so it’s definitely hurt,” said Wilbanks.

Wilbanks usually has large wholesale orders from different boutiques across the country, but because many of their doors are closing, she’s only doing individual online sales.

She told WHNT News 19 that she is getting a lot of local support, though, and plans to make live online videos featuring different pieces of her handmade jewelry.

One major event the chamber was able to reschedule was the Big Bass Splash, which was expected to have a $3.3 million economic impact on Jackson County.

It has been rescheduled for June 12-14.

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