CORRECTION: This article has been updated to fix an error. Loretta’s last name is Roy, not Ray.
Loretta Roy, a small business owner, said she’s hoping to make around 25 per cent of her yearly income this weekend.
“Trade shows, and particularly this one at Christmas season are probably the most important time of the year,” she said.
Roy, like the nearly 200 other vendors at the Sundog Arts and Entertainment Fair, in Saskatoon from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1, is counting on the expected 12,000 customers coming through the doors.
Those massive online sales — and profits — often exclude entrepreneurs like Roy, who does most of her business at trade shows. She makes pottery, decorated mugs and plates, and spends several weeks before a show making preparations.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, a small business advocacy group, imported Small Business Saturday seven years ago from the United States. The purpose of the day is to redirect attention, and holiday shopping, towards local stores in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
She said Black Friday drew shoppers away from the Sundog Fair.
David Bigler is another entrepreneur who relies on trade shows.
“This is my first year at Sundog,” he told Global News, “but in the short time that I’ve been here I’ve already easily tripled what I would normally do in other venues that I’ve been at.”
Bigler makes knives, cutting boards and charcuterie boards from wood and epoxy. He said the knives usually take about a week to create.
“At this point I can’t count the amount of hours I’ve spent,” he said.
The vendors hope that the fairs like Sundog keep helping their businesses and independence.
“If you’re going to do something in life, and especially if you’re going to do it for a long time, you may as well be doing something that you enjoy,” Roy said.
“I want to have my own business because I want to be my own boss and there could be nothing better, in my eyes, than as making my living doing what I want to,” Bigler said.