Skip to content

“Meet the Merchant” to offer a new downtown shopping experience

A new business planning to open in downtown Cairo in the coming weeks is searching for producers of locally made items ranging from artwork and clothing to candies and needlework and everything in between.
Shopkeeper Nancy Vance is opening a new store she calls “Meet the Merchant” at 146 S. Broad St., across the street from Cook Electronics/Radio Shack.
“Meet the Merchant is a storefront that provides affordable retail space to local artisans and business entrepreneurs that have handcrafted items to sell directly to the public,” said Mrs. Vance. “Hundreds of years ago, goods were bought and sold on the docks from harboring merchant ships and the goods offered were often variable. In keeping with the spirit of days gone by, the merchants participating and the items sold in this store will be variable to offer you a unique experience with every visit. Hence, the merchant ship/nautical theme that will be throughout the store.”
Once fully operational, Meet the Merchant will be open Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Mrs. Vance said she wants all items for sale to be homemade, hand crafted, unique and of high quality.
“Meet the Merchant offers the community a place to start their business – an incubator of sorts – that is in our historic downtown, with high visibility, plenty of parking and compliant with City wishes. Costs of signage, business license, liability insurance, advertisement, utilities, lease commitments, etc., are not a concern as they are paid for by the shopkeeper, me,” she said. “I hope Meet the Merchant will become a ‘Community Store’ where talent can be discovered, ideas can be implemented and creativity not be stifled. I hope the town will embrace the concept of ‘neighbors helping neighbors’ and get behind the store and encourage shopping and spending to stay local!”
Some items Mrs. Vance said she hopes merchants will sell at the location include art, bags and purses, baked goods, books, candies, ceramics/pottery, children’s clothing, Christian items, dairy goods/cheeses, dolls, fresh flowers, furniture, glass, holiday items, honey, housewares, jewelry, knitted or crocheted items, leather goods, metalwork, needlecraft, paintings, pet items, plants, photography, silk floral arrangements, sporting goods, taxidermy, toys, vintage, wreaths, woodworking and more.
“I will be reviewing items in advance that are to be sold to make certain the upscale image is adhered to. This will not have a flea market or garage sale flavor,” said Mrs. Vance.
Merchants will pay a $25 per day fee to rent a 6′ table space, and will be encouraged to decorate their area to create visual interest. Grand opening rates are $25 for an entire weekend, according to Mrs. Vance. She said efforts will be made so vendors of like-merchandise will not be present on the same day.
Civic organizations will have opportunities to use free table space to sell raffle tickets or promote their interests.
Mrs. Vance said once the idea succeeds she hopes to involve other Georgia towns to open franchise Meet the Merchant locations, giving merchants even more opportunities to expand.
Artisans should contact Mrs. Vance to discuss the Meet the Merchant concept at (239)229-6434.

Leave a Comment