Local business owners to feel the effects of the coronavirus driven Imperial Farmer’s Market closure

Judy Martin, the owner of Judy's Handcrafted Creations, said that while she is disappointed the Imperial Farmer's Market is closed, she understands the need to prioritize health and safety. (Courtesy Judy Martin)
Judy Martin, the owner of Judy's Handcrafted Creations, said that while she is disappointed the Imperial Farmer's Market is closed, she understands the need to prioritize health and safety. (Courtesy Judy Martin)

Judy Martin, the owner of Judy's Handcrafted Creations, said that while she is disappointed the Imperial Farmer's Market is closed, she understands the need to prioritize health and safety. (Courtesy Judy Martin)

On March 17, the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the Imperial Farmer’s Market, announced all its events would be canceled for the next four weeks due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

As the first weekend without many area markets comes and goes, vendors are wondering what this could mean for their businesses.


Karen Trekell, the owner of LatherMeUp, a homemade soap and bath and body business, said her business is effectively shut down and that she is worried about losing revenue.

“I'm trying to find some ways to do some more advertising online to try to get some online business going,” Trekell said. “Online business isn’t really my focus. I try to focus on the farmers market because I enjoy the interaction with people. They can smell the soap [and] ask questions."

Trekell, who has been a vendor at the Imperial Farmer’s Market for 5 1/2 years, said she has gained a consistent following and has many regular customers. For the time being, Trekell said she is taking orders from customers over the phone and mailing or delivering those products.



Richard Barnes, the owner of Numismatic Jewelry, which makes coin jewelry, also said his business is basically shut down.

“It’s not going to impact me personally because I have a full time job, but a lot of the people I work with at the markets are having to find alternative sources of income,” Barnes said. “A lot of them have a lot of stock that is basically going to go to waste.”

Judy Martin, the owner of Judy’s Handcrafted Creations, said that while she is disappointed the market is closed, she is glad proactive steps were taken to keep the community healthy.

“Sometimes, there are more than 10 people in my booth, so I can understand—for everyone’s safety, we've just got to do it,” Martin said. “It’s disappointing, but I know it’ll open up again, and when it does, it will be great.”

Martin, who makes hand-crocheted stuffed animals, kids' toys and blankets, said she was worried about everyone at the market touching her products and then her having to disinfect them later.

In a letter to its members, Keri Schmidt, president and CEO of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is there to offer support and assistance.

“On a personal note, please know that we are thinking about you daily and ways we can help,” Schmidt wrote. “You are not alone; we are in this together. We've been through hard things before; we will get through this. We are amazing, resilient, and creative.”

By Claire Shoop
Claire joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2019 as the reporter for the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in May 2019 where she studied journalism, government and Arabic. While in school, Claire was a fellow for The Texas Tribune, worked for the student newspaper, The Daily Texan, and spent a semester in Washington, D.C. She enjoys playing cards with her family and listening to the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.


MOST RECENT

coronavirus
Fort Bend County July 15 coronavirus update: 73 new cases, 2 new deaths

The new cases bring the total coronavirus case count countywide to 5,284.

Oak Ridge High School held graduation for an audience of family members in two ceremonies with social distancing measures in place. (Courtesy Conroe ISD)
Teachers, parents express concern about what 2020-21 could hold for Houston-area schools

As school districts throughout the Greater Houston area begin to release details about what in-person and virtual learning options will look like in the fall, questions remain for local parents and educators.

Houston Museum of Natural Science named a new director for the Sugar Land campus and George Observatory on July 15. (Courtesy Visit Houston)
Houston Museum of Natural Science names new director for HMNS—Sugar Land, George Observatory

Kavita Self is the new director of the Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land and the George Observatory in Needville.

online
Gov. Abbott: Texas Education Agency to extend online learning option for school districts in 2020-21 school year

Texas school districts may be able to continue online learning for longer than three weeks, according to Gov. Greg Abbott.

Walmart and Sam's Club leaders announced in a press release July 15 all stores nationwide will require shoppers to wear a face covering beginning July 20. (Courtesy Walmart)
UPDATED: Kroger joins Walmart, Sam's Club in requiring face coverings in all stores

Additionally, all Walmart stores will have a single entrance beginning July 20.

The Texas Renaissance Festival returns to Todd Mission for its 46th season Oct. 3. (Courtesy Texas Renaissance Festival)
Texas Renaissance Festival to offer limited number of date-specific tickets July 18; face masks encouraged during 46th season

Should the festival season be canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic, all tickets will be honored for the 2021 festival season, or guests may request a refund, according to festival information.

facemask
Fort Bend County July 14 coronavirus data shows 196 new cases

Recoveries increased day over day by 30 for a total of 1,865 in the county. Two new deaths were also reported for a total of 65.

vote
July 14 primary runoff: Democrats Eric Fagan, Geneane Hughes in tight race to face Trever Nehls in Nov. for Fort Bend County sheriff

Here are the results from six races in Fort Bend County including county sheriff, county attorney and state Rep. District 26.

(Community Impact Newspaper staff)
UPDATE: Nehls claims spot on Nov. 3 ballot as Republican candidate in US Congress District 22 race

The Republican runoff winner will face Sri Preston Kulkarni, who received the majority of votes on the Democratic ticket in the March 3 primary election, on the Nov. 3 Election Day ballot.

New research shows the coronavirus can survive for much longer in the air than previously determined. (Graphic by Justin Howell/Community Impact Newspaper)
UTMB experts say COVID-19 airborne transmission is responsible for rapid spread; virus lasts more than 12 hours in air

Two infectious disease experts from the Bay Area gave an update on the coronavirus and current research efforts July 14.