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Crafts fair comes to Merchant Crossing

February 1, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

There was soap, jewelry, unusual artwork and more for shoppers to buy. You just had to go to the Merchant Crossing parking lot to find them.

M.Y. Promotions, a local company that puts on craft fairs throughout Southwest Florida, presented one in North Fort Myers over the weekend, where more than 50 vendors came to sell their wares, from the conventional to the unusual.

Local businesswoman Sally Mere, whose husband owns two businesses in North Fort Myers, puts on these events weekly throughout the winter season, from Ellenton to Naples.

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Jenny Nicholas, owner of the Bubble Farm, stands with her collection of soaps at the arts and crafts fair at Merchant Crossing Saturday.


Mere said the company got started as a way to help promote their fellow crafters in a way they hadn't been in the past.

"We were crafters to begin with and we weren't happy with the advertising that was done, so we decided to do it ourselves," Mere said. "We've been coming here for nine years and we use the newspaper, and even radio to get the word out."

Mere said she can only get 56 vendors into this location because they are landlocked, but there are no limits to the shoppers, and on a good weekend, Mere said they can get as many as 8,000, though Sunday's uncertain weather, as well as competition from Gumbofest and the RV show across town, may have kept some people away.

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Eugene and Shirley Nicalek, of Ellenton, are not only vendors, but also provide security for the show. They sell yard art, and people were picking them up.

"We take all kinds of tools and make them into bugs, animals and sell them," Shirley said. "The bugs are what people call it. If they see a dragonfly, it's a dragonfly. We do OK."

Local crafter Jenny Nicholas was selling all kinds of homemade soaps at her Bubble Farm. She sold everything from the smooth facial soap made from real goat's milk, to rougher soap made from natural oils, and more, even giving away free samples.

"We try to make everything as natural as possible and we do as many of these local shows as possible. People have been coming out and buying," Nicholas said, adding that she does this year-round, heading north during the summer for shows in Chicago.

Customers were in the buying mood. Jody Walborn brought her two daughters, 13 and 8, from Cape Coral and was glad to have something like this close to home.

"My kids are interested in everything not nailed down. They like the jewelry and fashion, basically everything," Walborn said. "I actually didn't know it was going on. I happened to see the sign and we came."



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