Red River Marketplace: Boom or Bust?

Its been one year since the Red River Marketplace opened in Burkburnett, and despite a few rocky months, the expo and trade days is still doing well. The owners have seen a trend paralleled in numbers released today from the US Department of Commerce.

The DOC says consumer spending rose .5% in July after falling flat for several months. "We started out great and the first few months were fantastic and then we got into Christmas and we had a good Christmas. Really we peaked in March and April we had almost 200 vendors which is about what we had in December," said Marketplace CEO and President Jack D. Jones.

The entire trade days industry has seen a fall then rise in recent months, according to Jones. "This last month, this last show that we did you could see it was breaking loose. My vendors are telling me at other shows this month it has been good," he said.

The up-swing is giving hope to Jones, who says the entire project is run by family and friends. "We have 250 booths, we've had 150 or so vendors the last few months, we really need 200 to break even. Breaking even is all Jones is trying to do.

Many of the vendors are taking advantage of the climate controlled atmosphere to make a profit. "We've been doing this about 5 years, we chose this place last year when it opened basically because we want to get out of the heat and get out of the cold ," said John McClure who sells hand crafted wood products.

The location is prime for vendors. Being between Oklahoma City and the Metroplex offers a wide customer base. "We've done very well this year. We have a great bunch of customers from Oklahoma and Texas both… This is giving us the opportunity being on the Red River to see both sides of the population," said McClure.

For McClure, business is booming in Boomtown USA. "We do more here open once a month than we did open once a week prior to this," he said. He's happy to have found the venue for his passion of woodworking."There's a bunch of great people come through here, a bunch of great people that are vendors are here," he said.

Jones is still working to evaluate the future of the Marketplace. "We've got to go through December and then we'll sit down and decide how this five months goes and decide what we've got to do for the future. That's the way its going to work," he said. Still, he's confident folks from near and far will continue to gather near the river for years to come. "There were a lot of people who didn't think we'd be here a year."

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6