NewsPinellas County


Tampa Bay market vendors find ways to overcome gas price spikes, supply chain woes

Posted at 5:37 PM, Mar 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-23 18:07:31-04

MADEIRA BEACH, Fla. — Many of Tampa Bay’s treasured outdoor markets are back after a hiatus from the COVID-19 pandemic. There are more than a dozen markets held weekly on both sides of the bay.

Vendors are grateful for the exposure which they say is more crucial now than ever. First, they dealt with the lack of events during the pandemic, then they faced supply chain issues and now the price of just about everything has gone up.

Yet, many of Tampa Bay’s smallest vendors tell ABC Action News Reporter Sarah Hollenbeck that they are staying positive and finding new ways to get ahead of the challenges they’re facing.

At the Madeira Beach Maker’s Market, you’ll find unique goods with unique stories to back them up like a woman who created products to help her dogs live longer, a man who turned his mom’s brittle recipe into a business, and business owners who flash infectious smiles accompanied with every sale.

Kristin Silveira of Island Blends can’t help but beam every time she sells a piece of jewelry. “For every sale we get it’s true that a happy dance happens inside and I don’t think the big box stores feel that kind of joy,” she said.

Many vendors are finding the ingredients they need for their handmade goods are more expensive now than ever. “Oh my gosh. Dairy prices…like are you kidding me? It’s been insane. But it’s okay. We manage it in different ways and figure out how to make it work but when you’re here at one of these markets, it makes it worth it,” explained Alyssa Wyatt of Churned Ice Cream.

Many of these items are uniquely packaged.

“We’re short on some bottling materials and a couple of the machines we need for processing are 12-14 weeks out and a lot of manual labor,” Michael DeCarlo of The Honey Couple elaborated.

Since the vendors are constantly on the move, gas prices are another factor. However, every sale is helping the vendors to thrive.

“We went through such a traumatic time as a country dealing with COVID so being able to see people come out and get those smiles back and have those moments where they are more appreciative it’s an experience of a lifetime to see that,” Carlton Owens of Psalms’ Gourmet Brittle added.

Vendors tell ABC Action News the various markets are serving as lifelines after the toughest two years on the books.