Holiday pop-up supports Jacksonville businesses impacted by pandemic

80 vendors, food trucks take part in event at James Weldon Johnson Park

80 vendors, food trucks take part in event at James Weldon Johnson Park

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Eighty vendors and food trucks took part in a holiday pop-up Sunday in downtown Jacksonville.

The event supported local businesses that have struggled during the coronavirus pandemic.

Dozens of small business owners gathered at James Weldon Johnson Park for the event.

Crystal and Tommy Horton opened Seaside Slingshots at the start of March, so having the event right before Christmas was a boost to their business.

“It was definitely a really scary time to start a business,” Crystal Horton said. “Nobody anticipated what was going to happen, however, the outpouring of support has been amazing.”

Bradley Taylor-Hicks owns Albion Grove with his wife, and they have 35 years combined in museum experience as craftspeople. They carve bone and antler and, primarily, make jewelry.

“When March hit, we went from three shows a month to absolutely nothing for a good six months or so,” Taylor-Hicks said.

The two have had to travel to find events to sell their items, which they say isn’t ideal during the pandemic.

“So something local like this that brings our community back together because we are community most of the vendors,” Taylor-Hicks said. “We know each other. We help each other out. We let each other know when shows are coming.”

Many of these vendors say they depend on these events to make a living, and that’s why the 904 Pop Up event Sunday means so much. And it means making money ahead of Christmas.

“There hasn’t been many of these fairs festivals or gatherings happening. Everything has been shut down, so nowhere to go nowhere to sell your doughnuts,” said Tammy Samsons, owner of Itty Bitty Donuts.

While vendors have taken a hit, she is hopeful.

“I see a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Samsons. “Look what we’re doing.”

904 Pop Up says another event will take place Jan. 24 at the Seawalk Pavilion.