FORT WORTH — Reno Mayor Lynda Stokes found her way to a new vendor area at the Fort Worth Stock Show because of her husband.“My husband found this,” the mayor of the small Parker County town said as she bought gloves from a San Antonio vendor new to the show. “I wouldn’t have known they were here. There are a lot of unique things in here. I’m really impressed.”To enhance the shopping experience for visitors to the Stock Show, a new commercial area for 14 vendors was set up in the Brown-Lupton Exhibits Hall. That’s in addition to about 215 vendors in the main Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall and 26 in Brown-Lupton South. Stock Show visitors benefit, as do vendors and the city. Visitors to the Stock Show like to spend money.According to a September report, they spent $49.9 million at the 2013 Stock Show. That generated $998,993 in sales taxes. In 2011, spending totaled $42.6 million. Spending includes parking, admission, food, beverage, rides, games and merchandise. Last year’s show also averaged 49,930 visitors a day, for a total attendance of 1.14 million, the Grotta Marketing Research report says. An attendance record of 1.16 million was set in 2012. Attendance for the 2011 show was 930,300.Lydia Dane of Paradise is one of the new vendors in Brown-Lupton North, She sells Himalayan salt lamps. Sales aren’t what she’d like at this point, but she’s not complaining. After six years of applying for a spot, she’s got her foot in the door.Three days before the show started Jan. 17, Dane said, she received a call asking whether she’d like a 10-foot by 10-foot space because another vendor had canceled. “I’m in, no question,” she said. “I might not get offered again. It’s a hard show to get into.”It was the same for Sandy Brannon, owner of Sonterra Designs in San Antonio, who was asked in November whether she’d like space in the new vendor area and given a quick deadline to decide. She has applied to get in for three years.“I’m not a quitter,” said Brannon, who sells women’s clothing, accessories and jewelry.The new vendor area will be fine once visitors learn where it is, she said.Over in the exhibits hall, Steve McMaster, owner of McMaster New Holland in Decatur, said his company has typically sold more equipment by this time in the show. But he said he’s not too concerned. He sells tractors and loaders, some priced around $59,000."It seems a little slow," McMaster said, whose family has been in business 35 years. “I haven’t sold [a tractor] every day. The last week is usually the best” for sales.
Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727 Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST