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story.lead_photo.caption Hundreds of holiday shoppers and businesses owners filled the First Financial Music Hall at the Griffin during the Arkansas Women’s Business Center's eighth annual Mistletoe Market last year. - Photo by Terrance Armstard

The ninth annual Mistletoe Market is this weekend, and organizer Shay Kaldem said it could be the biggest yet.

“It grows every year,” she said. “We’ve averaged, for the last several years, 1,400 [customers].”

Presented by the Arkansas Women’s Business Center, this will be the second year the holiday market will be held at the Murphy Arts District First Financial Music Hall. Kaldem said the partnership with MAD has been great.

“They’ve gone over and above,” said Lisa Sipes, another organizer of the event agreed. “It’s been amazing to work with them.”

The Mistletoe Market will be held over two days, Friday and Saturday, and offers exclusive shopping opportunities for local residents. Over 65 vendors will be in attendance, with items like food, handmade crafts, holiday decorations, clothes, jewelry, art and home goods from around the Ark-La-Tex available for sale.

“There’s a great variety between new and farmhouse rustic,” Kaldem said. “There’s a good mix.”

The market will kick-off Friday with ‘Moonlight at Mistletoe Market,’ where patrons will receive complimentary cider and hors d’oeuvres and be eligible for exclusive, high-end door prizes, like a Kate Spade wristlet and a Michael Kors purse. Tickets for Friday’s market cost $15, and will allow patrons to attend Saturday’s market as well. Moonlight at Mistletoe Market will be Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“There’s a lot of people that don’t even put the merchandise they’re going to sell at Mistletoe out until after Mistletoe,” Kaldem said. “I know there’s several different boutiques in town that specifically order a whole new inventory just for Mistletoe. They put it out at Mistletoe to premiere it to market.”

Saturday’s market will open bright and early, at 9 a.m., at which time several small business workshops will be presented. At 9 a.m., Harvey Brown, vice president of commercial lending at BancorpSouth, will present a workshop on ‘Managing Cash Flow.’ The workshops are free and open to the public.

“They’ll understand the purpose of cash flow, they can make cash flow projections based on the cash cycle and identify ways to manage their cash flow, including receivables and the payables,” Kaldem said.

At 10 a.m., Certified Public Accountant Rick Morgan will present a workshop titled ‘Tax Planning & Reporting for Small Business.’ Kaldem said he gave the same workshop last year, and it was so popular it ran over its scheduled length of an hour.

At 11 a.m., Chauncey Holloman Pettis, a Women’s Business Center director, will host a workshop called ‘Starting a Business in the State of Arkansas,’ where patrons will be able to learn the ins-and-outs of starting their own businesses. Kaldem said the workshops were added to the Mistletoe Market last year to highlight the Women’s Business Center’s mission, which is to support small local businesses in Arkansas.

Saturday’s market will close at 4 p.m. Tickets for Saturday’s market cost $5. Tickets for Friday’s ‘Moonlight at Mistletoe Market’ may be purchased in advance Friday morning at the MAD First Financial Music Hall, 101 E. Locust St. in El Dorado, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., or at the door.

For more information about the Mistletoe Market, visit facebook.com/arkansas.mistletoe.market.

“I just hope the community will come out and support these small businesses,” Kaldem said.

Caitlan Butler can be reached at 870-862-6611 or [email protected]

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