Vendors at The World Games Merchants Market upset over lack of advertisement, air conditioning, placement

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – The World Games are officially underway and while plenty of people are excited, vendors say they’ve been let down.

Dozens of small businesses are set up underneath the Merchants Market tent, ready to share their merchandise with the world. Unfortunately, so far, they haven’t sold much at all.

“Once the Opening Ceremony started, I literally watched 20,000 people from around the world and throughout this state walk a half a mile away from us and they didn’t know we were here,” said Tracey Kennedy with California Country Organics Body Care.

“We’ve been here two days and there has been a trickle of people coming through when there’s hundreds of thousand in town,” said Yolanda Knox, the owner of ArayaSunshine Candle Company.

Many vendors are upset over the lack of foot traffic to the World Games Merchants Market.

The cause they say is a lack of advertisement and poor placement of the tent.

“We’re not getting the traffic, we’re not getting the advertising that we thought we were gonna get by being at The World Games,” said Knox.

“All the customers that have come through, I ask, ‘Where did you hear about this?’” said Lewis Patton. “They say, ‘I was just walking from Top Golf to Railroad Park.’” Patton is with a clothing business called Vintage Supplier.

Another concern is over the lack of air-conditioning inside the tent. Some of the vendors said they were promised air-conditioning.

“We were told that it would be air conditioned inside the tents,” said Knox. “There are fans inside the tents. Everybody’s not getting access to the fans.”

“We actually didn’t have fans all day yesterday because there was nobody to fill them because we’re so short on staff,” said Kennedy.

In the days to come, they’re hoping for better conditions and more customers.

“I think letting the hotel know that that’s where they can send their guests,” said Patton. “Putting out on the TWG 2022 Instagram. Put it on the story: There’s a merchant market!”

“Birmingham, what are you going to do in order to provide a pathway for us to grow?” asked Kennedy. “Because this was another way to push us down.”

WBRC Fox 6 reached out to a couple fathers of The World Games. One response said they were checking on the situation. As of Friday night, no other update was provided.

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