Navarra’s Greenhouses transform into Christmas Co-op with 100 vendors

Photos by Tom Rivers: Amanda Mrzywka holds a Christmas tree for sale in the Navarra’s Christmas Co-op. Two of the greenhouses at 3272 Eagle Harbor Rd. are filled with items from 96 vendors.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 November 2022 at 7:44 am

GAINES – In 2020, Amanda Mrzywka was prepared for a busy season at festivals and craft shows, selling her vegan soaps, which are made without any animal byproducts.

But the craft shows and festivals were all nearly cancelled that year, due to restrictions and concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mrzywka, one of the owners at Navarra’s Farm Market and Greenhouses, said crafters were all feeling the financial strain from losing those shows.

“It was definitely a heartache when you think you’ll have all these craft shows and then there is nothing,” she said.

Mrzywka decided to try having a small craft show at Navarra’s, using one of the greenhouses. That first time there were 16 crafters.

It worked out well for the vendors who were in a heated spot, and could keep their items on location for multiple days. Mrzywka set up a code system to track what was sold without the vendors have to be there all the time.

The co-op also was popular with customers.

“It’s a fun place to find unique and hand-crafted items,” Mrzywka said.

Jenna (Mrzywka) Pugh holds some of the creations she made as one of the vendors at the market. She uses old barn wood to make the Christmas characters.

The co-op grew to 67 vendors in 2021, the second season, and now has 96 with a waiting list for more.

Two of the greenhouses at Navarra’s are filled with stocking stuffers and other creations. Mrzywka expects a third greenhouse will be used for the co-op next year. She would also like to add food trucks and have the co-op become an even bigger holiday shopping destination.

The vendors have been busy making products with a Christmas theme, featuring many holiday characters such as Santa, Rudolph, Frosty and the Grinch. There are also a lot of Buffalo Bills items.

“There is some very creative stuff in here,” Mrzywka said.

The co-op is open from Thursday through Sunday for five weekends – from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Nov. 25-27, Dec. 1-4, Dec. 8-11, Dec. 15-18, Dec. 22-24.

Amanda Mrzywka holds some of her vegan soaps that are for sale at Navarra’s Christmas Co-op.