Food vendors outline challenges faced throughout COVID-19 pandemic

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LEWISBURG, WV (WVNS) — The COVID-19 pandemic was hard on people and businesses for many reasons. For food vendors who rely on fairs and festivals for income, this year was more difficult than ever.

Co-owner of Son’s-Sational Cinnamon Rolls, Raymond Naeyaert, said the financial loss was one of the biggest struggles. Many festivals across the country were canceled, leaving these vendors struggling to find an influx of cash among other challenges.

“One is financial loss and the next biggest thing is supplies,” Naeyaert said. “Because of COVID and a lot of people being out of work, a lot of the companies that provide us with the things we need are either backed up or hard to get.”

This leads to a variety of other problems including skyrocketing prices and sometimes not being able to even get their hands on certain items. For Son’s-Sational Cinnamon Rolls, their rolls are baked fresh with prime ingredients every single morning.

“We like to keep to using really clean and expensive ingredients,” Naeyaert said. “It is hard on some of the stuff to find. A lot of people think we can just go down to the market and pick something up, but it’s not like that for us. It’s high specialty items.”

However, Naeyeart said compared to other vendors, he feels blessed for the year they had.

“We feel fortunate that we’ve been doing this long enough that we’ve gotten a lot of deeply established networks so we do have alternatives,” Naeyaert said.

Naeyaert said these alternatives include what they do in Lewisburg when it is not the week of the State Fair. That is setting up street vending, which he said was a life-saver throughout the pandemic. He added they have one last festival coming up the first week in October.

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