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RodeoHouston working to launch digital marketplace to support hundreds of retail, food vendors

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the biggest event of the year for hundreds of small business owners.

HOUSTON — The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is technically canceled this year, but through a digital marketplace, you’ll still be able to support your favorite retail or food vendors.

RELATED: RodeoHouston 2021 has officially been canceled because of COVID

KHOU 11 News just confirmed RodeoHouston is working to create and launch an online marketplace for as many as 350 vendors who hoped to sell their products during the rodeo.

“These are not easy times for anybody,” said Melinda Smith who owns Tiles Across Texas.

The small business based out of Killeen, Texas has sold at the Rodeo for more than a decade.

“The Houston Rodeo is our best show. Over 50% of our income for the year,” Smith said.

The income was enough for Smith and her husband to focus on the artwork she creates from tiles.

The Smiths had just finished setting up their booth at the 2020 Rodeo, a two-day process, when it was shut down to the spread of the coronavirus in March 2020.

“It’s been emotional. It’s been a rollercoaster,” Smith said of the last 11 months. “Now my husband’s gotten a full-time job. I’m still trying to keep everything going. Just doing small shows.”

Last week Rodeo Houston announced it was canceling its annual event, that it has pushed to May, because of the pandemic. The organization is now racing to create an online marketplace for all exhibitors in good standing with the show. Potentially 350 retail or food vendors and rodeo sponsors will be invited to join. RodeoHouston plans to launch the digital marketplace in March at www.RodeoHouston.com.

CLICK HERE: Tiles Across Texas 

“They have reached out to me and I think it’s a good thing,” Smith said. “It would be great if people go online and shop. I would love it.”

The 66-year old is working on new products and has mastered the art of shipping as preparations are now underway for the second chance Smith and so many small business owners have been hoping for.