Having been confirmed to participate in two Naples markets, we dragged our usually late sleeping selves out of bed at 5:00 AM in order to have time to finalize Serenity’s road readiness, hook up Loki, make the drive across Alligator Alley to Naples, find the market manager for spot assignment, and set up our displays before the 8:00 AM start time. We usually try to avoid driving the big rig in the dark, but the nearly empty early morning roads felt a lot safer than a late night with the drunks, and dawn broke partway through our journey across the Everglades.
The market was impossible to miss as we approached the Bed Bath & Beyond parking lot, and given the hour there were plenty of space to lodge Serenity until we got the full scoop on our vendor spot and designated vendor parking. They got us assigned in short order, and we pulled Loki as close as we could get to unload and set up. We have our system down pretty well and can have the basics done in 15 minutes.
The Naples BB&B market used to be a well established event, but shut down for a couple of years and has only recently restarted, and was charitably described as still building up. It had perhaps 25 vendors and a modest throughput of potential customers. Perhaps due to bad timing as it was the day after Black Friday, but there seemed to be a distinct lack of willingness to browse up close or even make eye contact compared to what we are used to; and by noon we were seriously concerned about even covering the $35 vendor fee with our slim sales. But we had the usual end of event rush and closed out with a modest profit.
We headed back to Club Naples for the night. While I have not toured any other options in the region, all of my research suggests that they are the best value resort we can get near Naples, so they are our go to spot until I learn of something better. Our assigned site was a lot tighter to get into than our last stay. While the premium pull through sites are of decent size, the standard back ins are packed in a bit tight, and the position of the neighbors rigs and vehicles made it a bit of a challenge, but with Rosemarie’s expert signalling we puled it off with only one adjustment after our initial backing maneuver.
We enjoyed the clean facilities and free high speed wifi for our one night stay, but the next morning it was up early again to connect up our rig, get a bit of gas for Serenity, and make the short drive to the Pine Ridge Road Sunday market. As soon as we pulled up we could see it was a much bigger event than the BB&B market. Over 70 vendors were already set up with customers browsing half an hour before the scheduled start time. This looked promising!
We had made some adjustments to our displays, and set up in our assigned spot between a woodworker and flower pot maker. From the moment we had our table ready we had customers doing more than just walking by and averting there eyes. We cleared the table fee within an hour or so and ended up with one of our better profits. During the course of the event Rosemarie did most of the selling while I ran some errands, checked on the cat, and rearranged our RV park stays for the next few weeks.
As a much bigger event than the BB&B market, we had a much larger selection to choose from for prepared food and produce. The bread and pretzel man nearby, the true to tradition Cuban sandwich vendor, and two of the produce stands yielded an excellent meal and take home things for our cupboard and fridge. Next week it might be the Turkish style lamb pizza for lunch. So many options…
After we closed up shop for the day just after 2 PM, we jostled for loading position with the other vendors’ vehicles, hooked up and headed north on I-75 for the short ride to Sanibel Island and a six day relaxation and rejuvenation period before the next weekend’s events back in Naples. It wont all be lounging about or collecting shells; we have a couple of projects to do and need to restock the displays with additional jewelry for the upcoming Naples markets. Stop by and say hello if your in the area next weekend!