CARMEL, Ind. — It’s a return to norm for Carmel’s Christkindlmarkt after a year off due to COVID. For some of these vendors, it’s the place they call home for the holidays even if it is a home away from home.
“We have vendors from Wisconsin, from Michigan, we have one from Canada, and we have another who flies in from Germany,” explains Christkindlmarkt spokesperson Maria Murphy, “Last year not having the Christkindlmarkt was devastating for many of our vendors. For many of them, this is where they make their money for the year.”
Last year these shops had to make due without the expected sales from Chriskindlemarkt. Murphy says some of the US vendors were able to receive paycheck protection program (PPP) loans from the government to stay afloat.
Foreign vendors tried to make a profit in their own countries. Falk Richter works for a German nutcracker company, but will be operating the Glühwein Pyramid bar at the market this year. He flies to and from his home country during the market.
“Last year when the market was cancelled, we had to pay for goods, and we did not earn any money,” explains Richter before speaking of the current state of these markets in his country now, “Most of the Christkindlmarkts are cancelled, especially in Saxony where I come from.”
These small businesses were left to order product this year hoping the market would come back. In some cases they even dealt with supply chain issues. Bradford Bopp is a Carmel resident who owns a German clock and gift company in Michigan. He’s glad to have stock on the shelves.
“They are [stocked] for now!” chuckles Bopp, “Hopefully that will last through the market. Once we acquired the store, I was like we have to be down here. We have to be a part of this.”
Christkindlmarkt will be closed for Thanksgiving, however it will reopen on Black Friday.