The Pandemic Through Eyes of a Vendor

The Pandemic Through Eyes of a Vendor

The year 2020 will be remembered as the year of “The Virus”, loss, hardship, virtual learning and TikTok dances. The entire world has gone through so much, learning hard lessons along the way.


One lesson that we, as a community, have learned is how important it is to support local small businesses.


Hello, my name is Vanessa Williams, Head Honcho of Blue Tide Organics. I am a vendor at the Upper Valley Artist and Farmers Market (UVAFM). I have been selling my products at the UVAFM for almost two years. I would like to thank El Paso for supporting local businesses. I have been blown away by the love and support that you have shown me, and all vendors. 


This year has taught us how fragile everything can be, but it also taught us how tough we are. It has taught us that we need to stick together, and support one another. It’s been an amazing blessing to be a part of the UVAFM community every Sunday. Watching El Pasoans supporting one another has truly been inspirational. 


I feel grateful that I live in Texas, specifically El Paso. Our leadership allowed us to stay open, and support our families. The UVAFM gives El Pasoans an opportunity to safely gather, support small businesses at a distanced outdoor environment.


I have to share a story with you. To keep this individual’s identity secret, I will call him or her Carol. One Sunday in August after a market at The Substation, I was done packing up my car, and ready to head home. I saw Carol, a fellow vendor, sitting in her car crying. Concerned, I walked over to her and asked if everything was okay. As she wiped away the tears, she shared with me how grateful she was for the opportunity to sell at the market that day. You see, her car payment was past due, and that day at the market she made enough money for her car payment, and had a little left over to buy groceries. That is what you are doing when you support small local businesses. You, the customer, are able to purchase unique - high quality products made with love, and in return, you are a blessing to an El Paso family. You help put gas in a tank, food on a table, and ultimately help a dream come true. 


That is what it means to support locals, you help make dreams come true!


If you have never been to the UVAFM, I highly recommend you visit us. Grab your mask and check it out! There are always 60+ local vendors ready to show you their products, with a kind smile. The energy is electric.


As the new year quickly approaches, I want to encourage you to have hope for a bright future. We will overcome these hard times. A new “normal” is on the horizon. Continue to support and love each other. Continue to reach for your goals and dreams. Never let anything stop you!


Onward and Upward, 

Vanessa Williams