The popular holiday tradition Crafeteria is returning to Frances Boutique, but this year the event will be a little different due to ongoing impacts of the coronavirus.
Basically, it’ll be Crafeteria, COVID-19 edition.
“We wanted to do a big event this year, but decided to go with a series of pop-ups instead,” says Jade Noble, who bought Frances Boutique from founder Georganne Bryant earlier this year. “We want our community to stay safe and healthy, so we feel like this is the most prudent way to go.”
Bryant launched Crafeteria more than a decade ago, creating a festive way for artisans and creative small businesses to sell their wares in a tented parking lot event that drew big crowds. But she nixed the event for 2020, citing COVID concerns. Instead, she invited vendors to present small pop-ups, giving them another way to share their merchandise.
Typically, Crafeteria is held on the first Friday night in December, during the final First Friday art walk of the year. Vendors sell a variety of gifts such as handcrafted jewelry, candles, soaps, and home or office decor.
Noble hopes to present an eclectic mix of vendors this year, who will be featured during a series of pop-ups scheduled to start on Small Business Saturday, which is November 27. They’ll happen every Saturday afternoon through December 18. She’s still finalizing the exact times.
“We’re going to put out a call for artists near the end of September,” says Noble. “We hope to see some new faces apply, and depending on who applies we might decide to do different themes every week.”
Noble expects to showcase three or four vendors during every pop-up. Most will set up in the parking lot near the boutique entrance, but some may set up inside the store, where recent changes include the addition of a seating area complete with a comfortable vintage couch.
The boutique won’t be charging vendors to participate.
The shop is working now on coordinating additional elements with Stinkweeds, the record shop next door that’s owned by Local First Arizona founder Kimber Lanning. “We both want to include local DJs to curate the music and create a fun vibe for shoppers,” says Noble.
There’s another element in the works, according to Noble: “We will be doing mutual aid drives for communities in need the entire month as well.”
And Noble is already planning for 2022. “Hopefully by next year, we can do a huge, exciting Crafeteria.”