Kansas Department of Agriculture helping vendors hurt by event cancellations

Joplin Area Coronavirus

KANSAS — The state fair in Hutchinson would’ve been this week — a blow to many businesses who depend on the event for revenue.

Some business owners rely on yearly events, festivals and fairs to promote the products they have, but this year that has changed.

Deon Toy, Co-Owner, RemeBees, said, “Where we made most of our money in a short amount of time, they all cancelled this year.”

So now, officials within the Department of Agriculture program – From The Land of Kansas are trying to connect vendors and customers online.

Sammy Gleason, Dept. of Agriculture, said, “They were going to lose a lot of their funds that they would normally make, because some of them, this is the best opportunity for them to make a profit so they’ve been happy with the virtual website.”

It’s called the Purple Ribbon Marketplace. The virtual experience is giving local businesses like RemeBees honey products in Manhattan, a chance to be a part of this year’s unique state fair.

“It makes it easier, because for us to take all the time to go down to the Kansas state fair and leave everybody up here, it’s my wife and I, we don’t have anybody else that helps us, so we can’t be in two different places,” said Toy.

You can choose from items like salsa, cheese, and coffee beans to candles and even hand sanitizer. Supporters say this is a way to help out fellow Kansans during tough times.

“The money that I make goes right back in the Kansas community, so by going to that, you’re more apt to help your neighbor.”

“I would rather give my money to Kansans rather than Amazon or Walmart because I don’t know them, but I think that shopping and helping Kansans that are struggling right now, and then you also get a great product, because it’s local and it’s homemade,” said Gleason.

The marketplace will last through Sunday.

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