Sellers' market [The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.]
(Pueblo Chieftain (CO) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 18--Astore featuring Colorado- made products will make its debut at the 2013 Colorado State Fair.
The new Colorado Proud store will open with more than 200 agriculture-related items ranging from candy bars to lip balm, State Fair executives say. In future years, the store plans to add farm goods and craft beers. The expo begins Friday.
The State Fair and its oversight agency, the state Department of Agriculture, which operates the statewide Colorado Proud marketing program that includes special labels placed on homegrown produce, are teaming on the project.
"Our purpose is to promote Colorado agriculture and we just felt like this was another way to sell Colorado products to Coloradans and others who visit the Fair," expo General Manager Chris Wiseman said.
The new store serves as a reminder that the State Fair isn't just about fun and games.
Each summer, the expo draws more than 300 merchandise and food vendors from around the state and nation. They hawk everything from trucks and livestock barns to jewelry and lollipops.
Among this year's new product vendors: Colorado Tire Inc., tire sales.
Happy Ave., acupuncture machines and back-pain belts.
Prevailing Resources, attic fans, insulation and small wind turbines.
Rem Sleep Solutions, beds.
The State Fair, seeking as wide of product mix as possible to offer visitors, limits the numbers of commercial vendors who can sell a particular item. The expo does not take a cut of merchandise sales. Instead, the vendors are charged a space rental fee.
Several new food vendors also are booked. They will tempt visitors with items ranging from bacon corn dogs and fried peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches (Jescie's Funnel Cakes) to gourmet hot dogs (Coney's).
This year, the number of vendors registered is running slightly below last year's level heading into the final days of registration, according to State Fair executives.
Part of the reason is the economy -- vendors are no more immune from the weak U.S. recovery than other businesses -- and part is the expo is keeping some spaces open in hopes of drawing a wider variety of vendors.
By the time the 11-day event draws to a close, State Fair executives are optimistic that
from page 1F overall vendor sales will meet or exceed last year's level, Wiseman said.
Concert ticket sales -- one indicator of anticipated turnout -- are running ahead of last year's pace, he noted. Also, other fairs around the nation are reporting an uptick in attendance -- and revenues -- from a year ago, he said.
"Every indication is that we're going to have a good year," Wiseman said.
Last year, attendance at the State Fair was 474,270, down 8 percent from the prior year. Fair executives cited the weak economy and competition from other events, including Colorado State University-Pueblo football, among the factors.
Commercial vendors are not affected by the expo's switch to a cashless payment system for its food, beer and carnival sales, Wiseman said.
They will continue to accept cash, debit cards and credits cards. Some accept checks.
"Concessionaires and (the) carnival are sort of in a partnership with us, where we take a percentage of sales. With commercial, we sell them booth space and don't take a portion of their sales," he said.
The cashless system will be in place at the new Colorado Proud store because it will be operated by the State Fair in cooperation with its parent governmental agency, the state Department of Agriculture, he said.
The decision to forego the sale of farm goods at the store was made due to time constraints in getting the store ready to open, Wiseman said. Fresh produce is expected to be sold at the store starting next year, he said. email@example.com
(c)2013 The Pueblo Chieftain (Pueblo, Colo.)
Visit The Pueblo Chieftain (Pueblo, Colo.) at www.chieftain.com
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