HAHIRA, Ga. (WALB) – On Friday, small businesses and vendors gathered in Hahira Square for the 40th annual Hahira Honey Bee Festival.
An opportunity many have been looking forward to.
More than 160 vendors are participating this year, ready to serve the community.
Chris’ Alligator Shack has been a staple at the Honey Bee Festival for about 32 years.
The owner, Chris Proctor, describes his business as a mobile restaurant. He participates in several festivals throughout the year, traveling around the country, giving people a taste.
“That’s why I go to the festival, because of the different variety of people,” said Proctor.
The different crowds and places makes the job special.
Proctor said the pandemic and last year’s shutdown pushed his business back, but everything they’ve done since has been great.
“We tell people ‘hey, you gotta have the tater and the gator, it’s going to be busy, so don’t wait till later,’ and then when you get the gator, put some of the rooster juice on it and it’ll make you flip flop, skip hop around the block,” said Proctor.
Proctor said the secret to success is a good product, quality and respect to the customer.
Others like Kimber Cagle are participating in the festival for the first time.
She said events like this not only help people but the community.
“It helps get the word out and it helps a lot of people to shop local, and it helps to build the community. You buy something from a small business, you’re not just paying for someone’s extra third home, you’re helping a mom and dad buy shoes. You’re helping a mom and dad put extra food on the table. You never know what somebody else is going through,” said Cagle.
Heather Glenn owns Glenn Shire Farms. Leann Beville owns Shabby to Chic Boutique. Both are participating for the first time as well and are looking forward to brand exposure, meeting new customers and making a lot of sales.
“Because there’s so many people coming in and coming through, you just make all kinds of new customers,” said Beville.
“Tremendous increase in sales, the exposure as well, people actually come and look. I’ve had a couple of messages already this morning like ‘hey where you at, I need to come find you,’” said Glenn.
If you want some tasty food and get your shopping on, vendors will be back on Saturday from 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.
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