The International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe set a record for sales in 2018, CEO Jeff Snell said, despite “taking a punch from Mother Nature.”
As of Sunday night, Snell said, the market had tallied at least $3.28 million in sales. That’s up from last year’s record of $3.14 million, Snell said.
The sales stacked up despite an hourlong internet outage on Saturday, caused when monsoon rains and lightning took out one of the market’s main routers and forced organizers to reboot the system, Snell said.
During the outage, Snell said market workers had to switch to recording credit card information manually because their point-of-sale system was out of order. During the ordeal, he said, he stood on a table to yell out and explain what was going on and to ask for patrons’ patience.
Overall, Snell said he thought people were very understanding. And sales as of Saturday night, he added, ended up just about even with the numbers from 2017.
Marketgoer Janice Baum described Saturday’s rain as torrential: “The river,” she said, “was going through my sandals.”
During the downpour, the lines grew exponentially inside the tent she was in, she said. She described one as stretching at least dozens of yards.
“Let me get out of here. It’s raining; they’re making me stand in line to pay,” Baum remembers her husband saying. It was a complaint heard from others Saturday.
Ultimately, Baum said she thought the market got up and running pretty quickly after the outage. It took her about 30 minutes to pay, she said.
Snell had a similar estimate, saying some lines got up to 40 minutes long, though one person who was at the market said it took hours to pay.
Around midday Sunday, there was seemingly no trace of Saturday’s outage problems. A handful of buyers at the market said they’d had no issues using credit cards or getting through the checkout lines.
Snell said the market does extensive training for all kinds of scenarios with the market’s 2,000-plus staff and volunteers. He credits that training for this year’s financial success, despite obvious setbacks.
“We drill on this stuff intensely in the months leading up to the market, and that’s why. It paid off this year,” Snell said. “We’ve set a new record facing what I would say are some of the biggest obstacles in the history of the market.”