Expelled from Farmers' Market Because Soap is Not Essential
Market Manager Declares Soap is Non-Essential and Summarily Expels Sunrise Showers Soap
Hi, I’m Sonia and I’m Glenn, we are the founders of Sunrise Showers Soap Co. We want to thank everyone who has supported us at the Brookfield Farmers’ Market, in Brookfield, WI, for the last 20 years. We are grateful for your business and friendship. As you saw from the title, we have been summarily banished from the market forever, and we think it is important for our friends and followers to understand why.
We have been a vendor selling soap and body care products at the market for 20 years. Here is our 20-year certificate that we received last October. We have been very happy being at the market every Saturday from May through October, during those many beautiful, sunny days, during those hot, humid days, during the rainy days, and during the days so cold you froze even wearing your snowmobile suit.
Last October we paid our deposit, as shown by this receipt, reserving our booths for the 2020 season. Then early in the year the pandemic appeared disrupting everyone’s plans. The market opening was postponed for 2 weeks. We mailed in the balance of our fee for the season, as shown by this receipt. The market manager, Bobbi Harvey, told us that though the market would start on May 16th, we would not be able to come at that time because it was going to open only for “essential” vendors, and soap was a non-food item, and she deemed it “non-essential”.
This was a little surprising because in the middle of the pandemic, the health experts are all in agreement that the most effective way to slow the spread of this disease, is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water. If you are trying to contain this invisible enemy, why would soap be considered “non-essential”? Without further explanation, we found this hard to understand.
To facilitate social distancing, the market was moved to a new location with more space. Being a registered vendor for 2020, we received a map showing the new booth locations for each vendor. We did not see a location for us so we asked and we were told that since soap is a non-essential product and we will not be permitted to come until later, we were not given a booth location initially.
After 20 years, you get to know what the other vendors sell. We noticed several vendors identified on the map that normally have non-food items, and we could not understand how their products or services could even be considered essential, while soap is not. We inquired again to the market manger so that we could better understand. Her curt reply was that we do not know what other vendors are selling, and we were summarily expelled from the market for making that innocent inquiry. Or in the jargon of this day and age, “Your’re Fired!”
We contacted Kristin Krokowski of the University of Wisconsin Extension, who formulated the original guidelines for farmers’ markets. Her reply was, “Farmers’ Markets in cooperation with local health officials, have the ability to include any vendor they see fit as long as markets can maintain social distancing.”
In anticipation of the market, and since many of our other sales venues were cancelled, we invested heavily in inventory, and have been building up inventory for several months, since soap has to cure for 4 to 6 weeks before it can be used. In addition, we totally rearranged our booth so that customers would be able to keep a safe distance, and not be touching our products. In fact, the majority of our long-time customers, when they come to our booth, already know what they want, and just ask for it. Or often they bring a shopping list of soaps they want.
So now you know what happened and why we will not be at the market. Soap will not clean up this situation, but soap will kill the Covid-19 virus. Remember, it’s essential to use so-called “non-essential” soap, and water to reduce the spread of the disease.
A huge thank you to all our customers who have supported us all these years. We are still going strong. You can always order online at www.sunriseshowers.com, or purchase our soaps at one of the retail outlets that carry our products, or find us at an event, when they start up again.