At a booth, you have to engage people, right? On the last day of the market I found myself asking, “Would you like to know what Indian money is?” As they picked up the package of a sample with the note as to its origin, I would say, “It is a 510 million year old sea lily stem.” Soon my neighboring vendor Gary was telling the same story as it was told so many times. But what they hay, we are about fossils too, so gotta share!
Another hit of the day was the question, “Would you like to have a Montana diamond?” Soon to ensue was the topic of a smokey quartz crystal ball from the top of the Judith Mountains. Most people like something for free and knowing you could have a Montana diamond as a pocket pet was just fun. It is also fun to have something to offer the public about Montana treasures.
The continued hilarity of whacking a geode marched on. Gary, the card vendor next door, offered his services to assist those in the back of the booth to break apart these dandy earthen balls. Still a thrill. Our morphing of a booth from panning sapphires to whacking rocks was an easy transition when you tell people they can use a sieve over their sink and smack down their gravel on the counter to unearth their shinies and it works well. They are good to go mobile.
As the Great Falls Farmer’s Market mainstay, Barb Murfield approached our booth as we asked to see her new purchase, I said, “Here, let me load you up with some products from our booth!” It was her last day of working for the market for so many years, I just had to dote on her.
Barb walked away with a fistful of mailable dandies for her grandchildren if she so chose. She got: a rock bottle topper, a package of Montana gemstones, a Montana stone puzzle pak, a real garnet card, a Montana sapphire card, some Montana diamonds, a wood burned pencil with a Montana moss agate stone on it, a box of play Montana gold nuggets, a vial of edible Montana gold, a rock necklace, a “I love Montana” magnet, and a rock necklace pak to make her very own necklace. That girl did well! Stopping by the Central Montana Prospectors booth did well for her! But she deserved everything she got and then some.
For an opportunity to interact with the public questions are always good. I would always offer my colorful strips of website address with the question, “Would you like to see a good website?” People would readily accept as the public is connected electronically.
They would roll it around their finger, stick it in their pockets or put it in a safe place for later perusal.
But the later check off would be noted as our webpage hits would indicate people are looking at our recreational prospecting message regularly. So many men would come and mention that they had prospected in Alaska and would love to get back “into it.” That fondness was so visible.
More men would share the prospecting notes about the search for yogos and rock development that people would have to stop and listen. Stories of adventure and outdoor fun were shared in abundance at our Central Montana Prospectors Coalition Great Falls Farmer’s Market booth on a regular basis. Lots of fun times for sure because working with the public is always interesting. Love it!
One of the main features of being so visible with a market booth is the opportunity you have to interact with people you know from your living so long in your own community. So many acquaintances from your life’s trails come by. As we touted our sapphire panning
and gold panning classes at the Columbus Center people would say, “Oh, I know Paxton!” or “I would love to take that class.” Recreational prospecting is a family friendly activity; everyone is included.
Shivering doggies even come to talk with us. They love rocks too and like to listen as their owners learn more about Montana treasures. Neighboring vendors are all supportive of one another and
we have fun getting to know customers at each other’s booths. Gathering together to talk over social stuff fosters the camaraderie of the day. Rocks work for a great general topic along with the cinnamon rolls, jewelry, cards, and aprons. Artistic prints work well to add to the ambiance. Maybe one of our rocks can be an inspiration for Nikci’s next painting!
Part of the explanation of the Montana diamonds is the visual of seeing the stones in the matrix. I always had to mention the hillside of polka dot rocks by the old radar station out of Lewistown. But the many shapes and sizes of the earth’s creations were strewn
across my counter top for all to marvel at. The fossils left behind by millions of years of living so we can finger them right here and now at the Market is just priceless.
A spoof on the rock topic was the featuring of Montana edible gold vials with the gold nugget on top. One gal held up a bottle and told how she had used these flakes for her cake last year as she knew you could get such things for cake decorating at Pizzaz. Dean, our
local favorite bought his bottle to give to his daughter for a birthday gift the next day with the idea she can eat Montana too!! Ha Ha.
Of course the topic of yogos and Montana sapphires was sporadic with the other rock fervor. Sapphires are always a good topic.