Hundreds of people flowed through the Yacht Club on Nov. 6 as they perused vendor tables and enjoyed fine cuisine during the Tellico Village Ladies Luncheon’s annual Shoppes of Christmas.
More than 40 vendors from Tennessee and other states showcased homemade goods, crafts, jewelry, books and other gifts.
This year marked the largest turnout in event history, Teresa Swartz, Shoppes of Christmas chair, said.
“We have more vendors than we’ve had before, so I think that’s good ... and probably a bigger variety,” she said. “We have some vendors that come from like Georgia and that type of thing. Overall, we wanted it to be like a shopping experience. We kind of joked about this, but people could shop a little, eat a little, shop a little, drink a little ... kind of blend it up if you want. Some people came and shopped and then ate and shopped some more.”
Mary Bartholomew traveled from Memphis to set up a booth for her company Mary B. Pottery.
“I actually used to live right over on the lake in Lenoir City, and then we moved to Memphis about five years ago,” Bartholomew said. “First of all, from a vendor’s standpoint, the organization treats the vendors awesome. They help us unload our cars. They bring our things in. It’s a really easy setup and teardown, and I enjoy the people. I enjoy being indoors, too.”
Swartz believes a different format helped draw more interest.
“Our whole location in the Yacht Club is different,” she said. “Typically, this has been associated with the monthly Ladies Luncheon, so this year we did not have the traditional luncheon. We worked with the Yacht Club to have them open for brunch from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. We worked with them to have speciality drinks at the bar besides normal, so we had some fun Christmas ones.”
Another tweak included drawings for an extravagant Christmas basket and various prizes.
“The Pick-A-Prize drawing is completely different,” Swartz said. “In the past, we always asked the vendors if they would like to donate a gift, and we would do a raffle or drawing at the luncheon. This year, we asked them to do it and sold tickets ahead of time at a discount, so we had people buy more tickets. ... With this Pick-A-Prize being a pre-sale and then we asked some of our locals ... the Yacht Club, the golf course gave a round of golf for four people. Besides just the vendor gifts, we’ve got gift certificates for people, so I think that created a lot more interest.”
The Pick-A-Prize raffle raised more than $2,000, which will go to benefit charities in Loudon and Monroe counties.
“This has been been very successful this year,” Karen Sue Keith, Ladies Luncheon chair, said. “Normally, we had a small raffle, and we made a couple of hundred dollars for charity. This year, all of the vendors donated a prize and then we solicited some prizes from the area. Everybody bought tickets for them — $1 a ticket. The money, other than our expenses, will go to charity. At the end of the year, we’ll look and say, ‘OK, this is what we have left from what the expenses were.’ We make sure that the charities are all within Loudon and Monroe counties because that’s where we all live.”
Bartholomew said Shoppes of Christmas was an overall success. She looks forward to coming back next year.
“The reception’s been really well,” she said. “They set it up a little bit different than they did last year, and it’s been warm and very consistent as far as customers. I definitely will come back. My product fits in well because it’s a gifty-type product, and I know a lot of people are shopping for the holidays.”