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Behind the Booth: Vendors' Favorite Thursdays Downtown Moments

By Teagan Holmes, Rochester Downtown Alliance summer event and marketing intern

One of my favorite parts about my job is being out on Thursdays Downtown every week. Thursdays bring a new excitement and energy to the week. Every week, I get the chance to talk to our vendors and attendees amid a busy day onsite to get to know them. After seeing these vendors week after week, I get to hear their personal and event stories, memories, and experiences, and to get a sense of tight-knit community. Some vendors have been at this event for years and love to share their stories about what they have encountered. I decided to talk to a few of our vendors so their stories could be shared with the rest of our community.

Teagan: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your business.

  • Airbrush Anything- I started airbrushing as a side job in college and loved it. I always loved live art. I found it to be very freeing. Being a vendor can be messy and unpredictable in certain ways, and I think the ability to roll with it allows you to prosper.
  • Kappers' Big Red Barn- We are a dairy company out of Chatfield, Minnesota that started in 2004. We offer milk in glass bottles, along with heavy cream, cheese curds, and ice cream. All our products are produced, processed, and packaged onsite.
  • Kat’s Kloset- I am recently retired and started this business four years ago because I love to sew and wanted to make some "fun" products. My customers are the best! My customer service is exceptional, and they know they can receive a quality product at a reasonable price.
  • Namaste Therapy- I am a Vietnam vet and used to work as an orderly at hospitals, including St. Mary’s in Rochester. I also worked as a CNA in nursing homes and was an EMT. My wife and I had our own photography business until we retired and started working with Crystals for healing.
  • Simple-Trends- I am a mom of three busy children. I do this full time and travel around the Midwest. I have been making product and selling for almost 10 years. I loved helping people, I love the products I sell and make them all with love, but what makes me unique is I am more in love with talking to people and sharing my product.

Teagan: What is your favorite part about Thursdays Downtown?

  • Airbrush Anything- The Mayo Clinic draws in people from all parts of the world. I have painted designs for people from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Suriname, Sri Lanka, Chicago, Florida, New Jersey, Texas. I'm always interested to hear what they request. I have found that people across the world are very similar: many designs that are popular with kids in Minnesota are universally popular.
  • Kappers' Big Red Barn- This is our fifth year doing this event. Our favorite part about Thursdays Downtown is all the great people we get to meet.
  • Kat’s Kloset- I enjoy meeting other vendors, the entertainment, and the "community" feeling of this event. I grew up 25 miles northeast of Rochester in Plainview and lived in Rochester for many years before moving to Eagan 30 years ago. I feel a sense of belonging when I am at this event.
  • Mon Petit Cupcake- I love the atmosphere, so many people walking around and so many vendors, food options, drinks and music, it really has everything!
  • Norwex- I have been doing this event for three years now and I love the atmosphere; with so many people walking around and so many vendors, food options, drinks and music, it really has everything!

Teagan: What are some memories you have from this event?

  • Kat’s Kloset- One fond memory is from last year. There were four ladies who came up to my booth and were looking through the luggage identifiers. One of the ladies looked familiar, and I heard her friend mention her name "Judy". I told Judy that she looked familiar to me, and she said I looked familiar, too. It turns out that we were neighbors in Rochester and our sons are the same ages and played together 30 years ago before I moved to Eagan. Since that day, we have kept in touch. Another fond memory happened this season of Thursdays Downtown. Two ladies from Michigan came and looked through my luggage identifiers. After their purchase, they told me how just looking through the designs was relaxing and helped to soothe their minds. I have never had anyone tell me that, and it made me feel good that I was helping people.
  • Simple-Trends- Helping a cancer patient find a headband to wear as she is losing her hair is a great feeling. My mittens have been used year-round for patients in the cold, air-conditioned hospital. I love that I can bring a little happiness to a not-so-fun part of their lives.

Find these vendors with the interactive Thursdays Downtown map here. Full Thursdays Downtown details can be found on the event web page here.