Sweet Tea & Shopping – A Fairy Tale Beginning

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Let me tell you how it all began. . .

Once upon a time there was a  determined and spoiled princess (wife, mother of 3, grandmother of 4), who held a deep-seeded desire to keep the love of crafting, creating, re-purposing and “junkin'” alive in the hearts of all those around her – young and old, near and far.  This desire burned in her heart, haunted her dreams and filled a good portion of her waking hours.  You see, for many years this particular princess had filled her leisure time with sewing, crafting, d-i-y projects and other assorted and sundry (sometimes bizarre) hands-on activities.  There were times she did these things to assist in “making ends meet”, sometimes for fun, but always with appreciation for the joy and sense of accomplishment she felt when admiring a completed project (some better than others)

She was a very lucky princess, as her Prince Charming had never complained about her antics, projects or crazy ideas.  Ever supportive, there were numerous occasions when he assisted in bringing her sometimes outlandish ideas and plans to fruition.  His only motivation and reward were her appreciation and smile.  One should also be aware, that over the past 30 +/- years, the lucky woman’s, now grown, children had looked on as she moved from one idea to the next.  Though sometimes perplexed (and often completely befuddled) by her ideas, they followed the example of the Prince, always willing and able to assist in the next endeavor, even those that they did not fully understand (as well as, the ones they thought downright silly!)

One day there came a dark cloud over the kingdom.  The princess faced a great personal loss, a sudden health crisis, and radical changes in her day-to-day life and responsibilities.  Feeling shaken & unsteady – somewhat lost, without direction or purpose…life was living her.  Her joy and enthusiasm was ebbing away.  Loneliness and a heavy heart were stealing her days – one by one – week after week!  Willing to risk no further loss of self, the princess proclaimed, “Something must be done!”  She was strong in her faith and prayed without ceasing!  Asking God for his guidance, a sign or directive, even a gentle nudge, for she feared the future of this dark and mundane existence.

It was then that she was reminded of a mantra from long ago –

“When times get tough – Simplify – Return to what you know!”

And that is just what she did!

From every corner of the palace storage (attic space), she retrieved hidden and forgotten supplies!  There were yards and yards of fabric, buttons, ribbons, patterns, idea books, paint, pretty papers, vintage pieces of this and that, and so much more!  She began to create . . . One item, then another and another.  Committing herself to each and every project as if it were the final jewel in her crown.  All the while working to surround herself with the company and support of so many friends, old and new, who shared her appreciation of all things created or re-created with love and imagination.

Alas, the creating was fulfilling and rewarding, she enjoyed it immensely and it brought her great joy.  However, the day to day responsibilities and uncertainties of life would not be denied.  Creating on a time schedule and travelling from town to town, show to show was proving to be more than life would allow or accommodate.

Unwilling to relinquish her renewed claim to a life filled with rewarding activities and contacts, she yet again began to seek redirection.  Searching her heart, her mind, her soul and the internet (She lived in a very tech-savvy kingdom).

Over the past months, she had received such wonderful blessings from the like-minded folks around her.  They had given so much of themselves … Sharing – Supporting – Encouraging.  She delighted in conversing with those who had been enjoying their creative endeavors for many years and found a special reward in watching as the next generation strived to develop their own unique and special talents.  She could not lose her connection to this “community” of wonderful folks.  She would not allow it!

As many knew, the princess was prone to sudden action so, when the thought came she acted – Quick, Fast & In-A-Hurry!

33 days later, the first Sweet Tea & Shopping Market welcomed the first vendors and shoppers!  It was small and It was brief.  19 very local and very talented merchants in a nearly unacceptable venue . . . One single afternoon – 2:00pm to 6:00pm – Filled with Fun, Laughter & Fellowship.

And then it happened, someone whispered in her ear –

“Would you consider organizing a Holiday Market?”

Well, the rest is history. . .

Insert another favorite saying here, one that always produces a wicked giggle from the princess . . .

“Go Big or Go Home”

(Perhaps she giggles because she is aware of the fear it strikes in the hearts of those who know her best)

Either way, that is just what she did…

Less than 90 days later, at the Historic Depot in Gallatin, TN., Sweet Tea & Shopping opened the doors to Last Chance Santa.  74 of the most wonderful folks you can imagine, sharing and selling their creations in a fun-filled market-style event offering an unbelievable assortment of treasures.  The market was filled with shoppers and merchants of all ages, varied interest and assorted areas of expertise.

The Princess Smiled Brightly!

Her heart was full of joy!

Being a firm believer in the principles of lifelong learning, the following days were spent evaluating, strategizing and planning.  Few things are perfect and this was no exception – There were blips, blinks, and total mishaps that would need to be addressed and adjusted but, Sweet Tea & Shopping had found a home at the Depot Square!  More importantly, Sweet Tea & Shopping had found “It’s People”.  Some would return, some would not but, Sweet Tea & Shopping had established a firm and buildable foundation, with the future shining brightly before her.

In 2013, Sweet Tea & Shopping will host three markets at the magical and historic Depot Square Event Center.  With nearly 30,000 square feet of indoor market space, guests will be treated to an unparalleled selection of treasures and creations, brought together through the effort and talent of over 100 incredible artisans and vendors, not to mention an assortment of food and beverage that will make the most discriminating palette yearn for more.

The princess now spends her days recruiting “top-shelf” vendors and artisans, promoting their creations and shopper awareness, as well as, doing her best to promote a “buy handmade” lifestyle.  Her heart is filled with joy, enthusiasm, and gratefulness – Her life filled with a delightful family and happy, warm, genuinely supportive people – What more could a princess dream of?

All is happy and bright in the kingdom!

Now that you know the story of Sweet Tea & Shopping, be sure to mark your calendar and plan to visit them all –

April 12 & 13, 2013 – Spring Market at The Depot

September 13 & 14, 2013 – Fall Frenzy

December 13 & 14, 2013 – Last Chance Santa

While you are there – be sure to look around for “the princess” who dared to dream it all.  You won’t have much difficulty finding her, she will be the one smiling wide (laughing a bit too loud), standing close to her Prince Charming, and feeling blessed beyond measure.  Take a minute to say hello and offer her your thoughts on the Sweet Tea & Shopping Market.  Feedback is the heart of continued growth and success.  She knows this and is interested in yours!

Each market will feature handmade, homemade, & original – vintage & antique – local artisans – gifts – funky junk – rescued, restored & repurposed – jewelry – apparel and more.

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