Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Just received notification that Sugarloaf has filed chap. 7 bankruptcy.
Oh, this is devastating. My husband and I participated in these shows for many years. They were always well run and well-attended with loyal buyers showing up to see our latest work and even following us to other events. George and Deann Verdier were great managers, promoters and worked so hard to create new markets for the craftspeople who participated in their events. In addition, fair and honest promoters who it was a pleasure to know and consider friends. Their daughter Jackie, who grew up in the family business, took over the events in recent years and she ran them superbly and was a pleasure to work with. I wish the entire Sugarloaf staff much happier days to come.
I disagree, Connie. The Verdiers made a nice living for many years off of the crafters who set up at their shows. They could have saved the business by putting some money back into it -- just like many small business owners do when they face challenges like this one. Instead, they cut and ran and left the crafters holding the bag by declaring bankruptcy. They took the easy way out and now we will pay for it. And bankruptcy laws allow them to come back in the future with a new name and a new business doing the same old same old. If they do, I hope crafters remember the fees that they will eventually lose thanks to the Verdier's decision. I am out $1900 (filed a claim with Visa but have my doubts about a recovery) and will certainly remember that if they come back under another name.
I, for one, will make sure that if they come back exhibitors will know. Might even picket the show to let the customers know. So much for my fantasy, hope they eat sh#t and die.
Except they walked off with $2200 of my spring fees. So I’m not feeling warm and fuzzy.
R. C., I hadn't realized that artists fees were being lost here. That is not right. As this Spring has played out, its been heartening to hear from show organizers their concern that artists are going to be taken care of and their sense of responsibility to see that that happens. Surely Sugarloaf isn't going to keep the fees paid for events that aren't going to happen.
I wish that were true, but as they said in their letter, we need to contact the bankruptcy court to file a claim. Chapter 7 is dissolution of the business and the court will take the assets and decide who gets what. If they intended to be honorable, they would have returned fees before declaring. I’ve had similar situations and the best you get if anything are pennies on the dollar. Additionally they use their extensive mail list to solicit funds from their patrons that was going to be donated to the artists in their shows that were canceled. I know they received several thousand dollars yet there’s been no distribution, at least I did not receive any. Another questionable activity.
R. C., I responded to the Sugarloaf GoFundMe campaign to Save the Artists solicitation and sent some money a few months ago. Today I received a refund from GoFundMe of those $$ from GoFundMe.
:-) thanks for the info
During the Great Financial Crisis, much was made of what was called “counter party risk”. Banks stopped doing transactions with other banks because they feared that the other bank could go bankrupt before a transaction completed. That’s what actually caused the GFC.
We could have an analogous situation in the arts and crafts fair business, where artists become reluctant to trust promoters with their booth fees, worrying that the promoter could go bankrupt before the show happens. That, of course, could hasten the bankruptcies of promoters who are dependent on the cash flow, as apparently happened with Sugarloaf.
The practice of having to pay booth fees before (and sometimes well before) an event is unusual in the rest of the business world. Rent is usual due no earlier than the first day of a lease, and often is due in arrears with grace periods of up to 90 days. Similarly business services are usually billed after the service has been rendered, not before (think home repair, your dentist, your doctor). Big retailers don’t pay for their inventories until after delivery, and often have 90 days to pay before overdue charges.
If promoters are to survive the new normal of rising counter party risk, they may have to convert to a system of collecting dues at the shows or billing them after the shows, rather than continue this quaint custom of expecting us pay them in advance.
I was able to get all my money back from their canceled shows by calling American Express. Took about 10min. explained the situation and was credited my lost fees. If you charged your sugarloaf fees on your AE card you may want to call them. Not sure if it matters what particular AE card you have (I have a Hilton Honors AE Card) but mine was covered.
Thank you, David, for that information. Do you think it has to be an AE card? Wouldn't a Visa or MC work also? If not, I'm foreseeing a run on American Express cards.