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Postponed Street fair at College of the Desert impacts businesses

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Local vendors are in shock to find out that this year's street fair at College of the Desert has been postponed until the campus reopens for students and staff.

News Channel 3's Dani Romero has more how that will impact local businesses.


For more than 36 years ,the street fair at College of the Desert has been packed with vendors selling specialty items, making this place a staple shopping spot here in our valley. Even though it's an outdoor venue, it's not reopening this October.

"I have a lot of mixed feelings. I'm sad because it is my 25th year and it would have been very excited to open up," said Barb Stebbins, owner of theKitchenoutlet.com. "Right now, it's two weeks before opening and I don't know what to do with myself."

Barb Stebbins would normally be  getting ready to open shop at College of the Desert's street fair.

But things have taken a turn. It's been postponed.

"It's hurting us. It's very sad. Websites are slow," said Stebbins."People are trying to buy local as they possibly can. and here we are 250 local businesses that have been wiped out."

Merchants like Stebbins learned in this letter, the street fair will not resume until the college campus reopens.

Organizers considered  moving to another location but decided quote "this would not be prudent"

"I would love for either the city of Palm Desert or the alumni association of the college to reach out to us for more help, more ideas, more engagement so that we can work together," said Christopher Nielsen, owner of the Gourmet Grater.

It's been months since Christopher Nielsen saw his customers. He was counting on this.

"Essentially 90% of our business is from the street fair operating October to May and our whole life is geared around it," said Nielsen.

Nielsen said it's been a struggle for him and his wife.

"We're both unemployed for the past six months and continue to be unemployed for now," said Nielsen. "This is our main events so for another six months and I do have a website, but I would say I get less than 10% of my sales through online."

Stebbins has also tried to adapt.

"Not to bash Amazon, but Amazon has killed us," said Stebbins. "I have had my website since 2000 and I did very well on it years ago, but unfortunately, you know with free shipping and everything else."

Despite the hurdle, Stebbins is not giving up.

"We will get through this, but everybody has to get through this and we have to do it, right," said Stebbins. "Wear are your mask. people come on, let's get this done."

Funds raised at the street fair help support COD students. It's unclear how much money is being lost due to the ongoing closure.

For full letter, CLICK HERE

For The Kitchen Outlet website CLICK HERE

For the Gourmet Grater website CLICK HERE

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Dani Romero

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