HOUSTON – When the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo was canceled in 2020, many businesses worried they would not make it. This year has proven to be another hurdle for rodeo vendors.
However, one Houstonian and her colleague created an online platform that has helped vendors survive. She said it’s since grown.
Cara Adams has the heart to serve. As a relentless volunteer and community organizer, she realized that people were in need when the rodeo was canceled in 2020.
“You see the hurt and the sadness,” Adams said. “For many of these vendors, this is their money-maker for the year. They sell hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of products there, and to be shut down and to be told, ‘I’m sorry,’ was devastating.”
But instead of doing nothing, Adams and her colleague knew they had to use their organizing skills to help.
“My friend Nicole and I were talking, and we said, ‘Let’s start a group to try to connect vendors with shoppers,’” Adams said.
They turned to Facebook.
“At the time, it was called Houston Rodeo Vendors 2020,” Adams.
It’s since grown and now called “Texas Festival Vendors” on Facebook, an online page where vendors can share their products.
“And before we knew it, we had 170-something thousand members and vendors were selling out of items!” Adams said. “It is basically a little storefront for the vendors. All day, you’ll see vendors posting.”
For China Baroque store owner Christie Gunter, the Texas Festival Vendors Facebook page is a place to share their heartaches but also their “heart work.”
“Hearing the news [Wednesday], it was a bummer,” Gunter said.
Gunter said the community on the page is very supportive and it is a place she can share all of her favorite pieces.
“This is one of our belt buckles here, and they’re always a hit,” Gunter said. “Our jewelry is made from pieces of china that we have re-purposed. Many of these are completely in-tact when we get our hands on them.”
When Wednesday’s announcement came out, many vendors were disappointed.
“We rallied and we have so much support from Houston and the surrounding communities and our customers have been phenomenal. It’s really helped us stay in business.”
Gunter and Adams said Houston thrives together.
“If you have an idea to help someone... you do it,” Adams said near tears.
“There’s no give up in my game,” Gunter said.
“I just hope [businesses] know that people care about them,” Adams said.
For more information, visit the Texas Festival Vendors Facebook group.