Non-profit Ephraim Co-op questions Fair Board decision regarding craft fair

Mar. 8, 2017

 

Editor’s Note: For more 15 years, the Ephraim Co-op has rented the Exhibit Building at the Sanpete County Fairgrounds for a craft show and sale. The event has been the linchpin in helping the nonprofit stay afloat financially. A few weeks ago, the Fair Board informed the Co-op that the organization would not be able to rent the Exhibit Hall this year. The letter said the Fair Board intended to stage its own event there to raise money for fairground improvements. This is the letter the Co-op sent to the Fair Board in response. The Co-op asked that the letter be published.

 

To the Sanpete County Fair Board,

It was with shock and extreme disappointment in the integrity of the members of the Fair Board that we received your letter indicating that the venue we have used for years will now be suddenly taken over by you.

One of two things would make you do this at this late date in the season. One, you know how to put together a craft fair, havE been working hard at finding crafters and have had the countless details that go into such a large endeavor in place for quite a while now; or two, you have not put a show together yet and think that it will not be a big deal to do so.

Either way, there seems to be little, if any, integrity in your organization.

If you have already been working on the project, you will know that much of the hard work  of the Co-op has been done by now, and that we already have crafters who have committed to the project, paid their fees to hold a spot, and been working for a long time to have the products they need to fill their booths.

If you haven’t started this process by now, you are naive to think it will be easy to pull such a big plan together in time for the Mormon Miracle Pageant. The world is different since the Internet has made shopping and selling online easier than going to a fair.

Also, do you plan on using the tables we have maintained, rebuilt and replaced for you over the years? Do you plan on using the lattice we have purchased to work with the tables? Do you plan on using the signs and banners we have made?

Do you realize why this craft fair was started so many years ago? We are a non-profit organization who, when the Sperry-Univac plant shut down in the 1980s, looked for ways to help the Sanpete economy get back on its feet.

We realized that there were many gifted artisans and crafters who could who could produce beautiful hand-done work, and we worked hard to provide a place for them to sell their wares and provide income for their families. No one has ever been paid anything to run our organization, with the exception of a store manager (who doesn’t get paid much) and a cleaning person.

There is no way to even begin to count the thousands and thousands (millions?) of volunteer hours that have been donated by the Co-op organization for 30 years to keep this business viable.

We came up with the plan to hold a craft fair at pageant time to enable our doors to stay open during the slow business months of winter and to buy any extra things we have needed, such as tables and chairs for our upstairs reception center.

You knew that taking the venue from us would place a hardship on us, but at least you could have had the courtesy to tell us at the end of last year’s pageant, which was when we began planning for this year’s event.

We sincerely hope you reconsider what you have done and change your minds about the craft fair this year.