Successful Show Vendors
Working RVer Story of Lilias and Walter Wheeler
(RVing Couple Succeeds Working Shows Together)
I watch the presentation Mrs. Wheeler gives and listen to her sales pitch. Then I turn towards her husband and watch as he collects money and hands out the pre-packaged goods to the customers. "I do the work and he takes the money," she quips.
This is part of the system the Lilias and Walter use to make their business run smoothly. She shows the product -- effortlessly using the Tartmaster to make sample ravioli, filled cookies, and stuffed pies out of dough.
The Wheelers are actively tending business, demonstrating their wares, and making sales. My interview with her is cut short. My questions are slowing down sales, so I quietly stand nearby and watch.
He is getting behind and he has asked her to help some folks by answering their questions. Not only did she answer their questions, she sold them complete sets of her products. Lilias and Walter are distributors of Tartmasters.
During the demonstration, she casually mentions the benefits of using a pastry cloth and a rolling pin cover. Although her fillings and crusts are the same basic dough, which she keeps reusing, she describes them as delicious treats. She points out the recipe book.
By the time she has finished giving tips and has a neat row of goodies lined up, a small crowd has gathered around. Someone asks the price of the gadget. She shows them the assembled collection of all the necessary equipment and tells them the price for the set.
As the customers reach for their wallets, she directs them to Mr. Wheeler who handles the money and dispensing of the merchandise. While he is helping those customers who have already decided to buy, she answers questions and continues to extol the product's usefulness.
The Wheeler's system works. They are organized. They have an attractive booth. They know how to use the merchandise they sell, and they make using look easy.
Above all, they smile and chat with the show goers. Meeting people is, in fact, what Lilias tells me she likes best about their life as mobile vendors. She notes that what they do would not be right for anyone who doesn’t enjoy talking with people.
The Wheelers have been mobile vendors for a long time. They primarily work fairs around the country. They have worked some of the same state fairs for 12 years in a row. During this interview, they are set-up in the Family Living building at the Sunbelt Ag Expo.
Do they make enough selling this way to support themselves? Lilias exclaims that they not only support themselves, but their travels, as well. She seems surprised that I need to ask.
She goes on to explain that they only work part of the year. They take winters off to relax and enjoy Florida. "We work some; we play quite a bit," she tells me as she once again begins rolling out her pastry dough and attracting attention to their booth.