We had enjoyed four great days in Sanibel to close out November, and started the last month of the year off right with two more days on the island. This place gives us a sense of contentment, and we relished a couple more days of shell hunting, great pizza,and casual campground happy hour with “The 49ers” (unofficial name for the regular RVers at Periwinkle, so names for the number of RV spots.)
And then we hit the jackpot when we stumbled upon Sanibel’s annual Luminary Festival, held the first Friday of every December, miles of bike paths are lined with luminaries, and many of the merchants along the main route host events, usually with wine, cheese, and other snacks. We took out bikes out as evening approached, had Champagne samples at Huxters, wine and cheese at McCallion & McCallion Real Estate, and half a dozen other nice stops before returning to Huxters for live music. Lacking bike lights we called it an early night and walked them back to the campground.
We reluctantly left our favorite Gulf Cost park to return south for another go at the two weekend Naples markets. We had mixed results that first weekend, with the Saturday Bed Bath & Beyond event being particularly slow while Pine Ridge Rd/Livingston on Sunday was one of our better performances. A number of other vendors at both events reported that weekend was unusually slow, so we were hopeful that things would pick up for us now that the post Black Friday shopping exhaustion period had passed.
Non-nomadic vendors have the ability to assess market performance in their region over time in order to select the best fit for them. We don’t have that luxury, and must make that decision often based on one visit supplemented by conversations with our vendor neighbors. Even with some of the other sellers assuring us that the BBB event was usually better than what we saw on that first Saturday, we had almost decided that our second try would be our last, attending it only because we had already paid the steep $35 vendor fee. Fortunately, that second attendance produced far better results, with sales up about 80% from the previous week. We can’t say for certain, but when we passing through Naples this coming March we might give this one another go.
After the market we stopped in again at Club Naples RV Resort (yes, that means we took the RV straight to the market, set up, then moved the rig to the back parking area) taking one of their standard 30 amp sites on the Passport America 50% rate for our two day stay. Though Club Naples is pretty ideally situated for our purposes and has some amenities, the spots are a bit tight, the standard site lots are dirt and weeds, and the internet was not up to speed that weekend, so we may consider another option for future stays.
On Sunday we took the tracker down to the Pine Ridge Road/Livingston event, which had been kinder to us on our first go round than BBB. With the improvement from one week to the next we had just experienced, we hoped Pine Ridge would be particularly good that Sunday. We were not disappointed, seeing a 115% improvement in sales, yielding our most successful event all year, even better than the first Marquette market on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
With such improved sales we were a little freer with our own cash, purchasing a hefty amount of fresh bread products, another Cuban Sandwich, and a Christmas gift from one of the other jewelers. We reveled in our sales that evening back in Club Naples, then it was up and on the road to Sarasota to drop Serenity off at for some repairs while we stayed with Rose’s mom Gloria and Bill in Venice.