Monday morning, we walked into a Costco and the employee who was checking membership cards said that they were out of toilet paper. it was 11:30 am. I thought the world was out of control. It turns out, that was the tip of the iceberg, and we don't know how big the iceberg is.
Since then, Rodeo Austin announced they were going ahead with the rodeo, COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic, Rodeo Houston was canceled mid-rodeo; and today there was an announcement that Rodeo Austin was canceled. My email box is full of emails from hotels, airlines, rental car companies and businesses, who are telling me what they're doing to protect their clients from exposure to the virus.
Today I saw a couple of Facebook posts from vendors that attend those rodeos which opened my eyes to another huge impact of these cancellations. It's the economic impact of those cancellations on small businesses who were scheduled to be at the rodeo that start to become more clear. In the case of Rodeo Houston, vendors were already at the rodeo, and they've been working for the past 10 days, only to have to pack up and go home. Many of the vendors that follow the winter rodeo circuit, don't have a storefront or an online store. They spent money to reserve a booth space, they may have invested in inventory that they will not be able to sell at the rodeo, they spent money to get to the rodeo and they'll miss significant income opportunities.
I read one post from a Houston vendor, who posted lists of the vendors at Tuscon and asked followers to shop from those vendors. I'm posting a picture of that post here, hoping that our readers will share and consider checking these vendors out. Then I read another post which happened to be from a business I know of, and full disclosure here -- I consider the owner a friend. Janice Naumann was excited to be making her first trip to Rodeo Austin as a vendor, and today after-hours setting up her booth, she found out the rodeo was canceled. I've included her Facebook post from today below as well. As you'll see-- her heart was with the youth that buys her products.
I'd like to challenge everyone to be vigilant in concerns about your health and to be vigilant supporting small businesses who have been affected by cancellations caused by concerns about COVID-19. These businesses have extra inventory and products that they expected to sell this month. Please, check out the Facebook posts that I've included and support all the small businesses affected by this pandemic. I don't have comprehensive lists to share - as I don't even know the total number of vendors affected. I challenge you to support Small and Local Businesses even when it's easier to place online orders to a large business that will be delivered in 2 days or less. At times like this, when we're facing a huge challenge, we have to recognize the people who are impacted by the cancellations, and we need to do what we can to help them -- even sharing a post on social media - only takes a minute -- but those vendors at Rodeo Austin and Rodeo Houston would really appreciate the exposure because they were just sent home without any way to make the kind of money they'd make if the rodeo was going on. This is the list of vendors from Rodeo Houston -- I haven't seen anything for Rodeo Austin. I remember when my Dad had a farm accident and couldn't get his crops out of the field. The community we were from banded together, drove combines down the road and got all the corn and beans combined in a day. I was standing in our kitchen - watching combines of every color come down the gravel roads toward our house. I got teary-eyed because so many people were coming together. There were big combines -- and there was one 2 row combine. Everyone came together in support - and they made a special effort to help because that's what farmers do. Our world has changed since those days, but I have to believe the spirit of rural people banding together is still strong. Please show your support, and check out the vendors from Rodeo Houston and Rodeo Austin on social media. Wishing you good health, and thank you for taking the time to read this. Becky Monroe