Virtual Penticton market offers a unique Christmas shopping experience | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Virtual Penticton market offers a unique Christmas shopping experience

The South Okanagan Virtual Market is offering two more markets this season, with the next one beginning on Thursday, Nov. 19 and running until Sunday, Nov. 22. There will be another market from Dec. 3 to the 6, 2020.
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November 16, 2020 - 6:30 PM

A new shopping idea in the South Okanagan promises to offer some safety and convenience in this COVID-19 compromised Christmas shopping season.

Jenine Lewis has organized the South Okanagan Virtual Market, hosting a series of Christmas markets into December.

Lewis says she experimented with an online market this spring, which helped her figure things out.

Lewis operates a woodworking company, and knew she had to do something after getting one market cancellation after another when COVID-19 struck.

“I asked my husband what we were going to do. We were like lots of other vendors with lots of inventory and no platform to sell,” she says.

In her trials, Lewis found the vendors did well, but Facebook didn't work that well for the actual operation of the virtual market.

The South Okanagan Virtual Market uses Facebook to promote itself, but holds the market itself on a separate, stand alone page.

“People can go in, browse and add things to their cart like they would in a normal Christmas market, with the added advantage of having only one checkout. We just went with it, and this is what came out of it,” she says.

Lewis says the market is open to vendors from Kelowna to the U.S. border south of Osoyoos, but she’s trying to keep it primarily in the South Okanagan because of the market’s pickup program.

Three businesses – Polka Dot Door Floral in Osoyoos, Oliver’s Rustic Boulevard, and Penticton’s Elizabeth O Vintage provide pickup points for the market.

“The vendor fee includes the pickup program. Once they have a list of what they’ve sold on the market, they can package it up, label it and drop it off at the closest pickup point. On Friday, we shuffle the orders to wherever the buyer is, so there is no longer a problem for a vendor having to ship or deliver an item to a customer in another community,” Lewis says.

The first virtual market took place with 32 vendors between Nov. 5 to 8. An additional 30 vendors are lined up for the next market, which takes place Nov. 19 to 22, with a third market scheduled for Dec. 3 to 6.

Interested vendors can leave a message on the market’s Facebook page.

Lewis says the market is password protected until the day of the market to allow vendors a chance to set up. It will be open at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19 until Sunday evening.

“It’s an easy way to shop for friends and family,” she says.


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