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We know that a lot has been said in the last week or so about the combining
of the two non-food merchant areas at Lilies War.  We hope that this will
provide more insight as to why the decision has been made to do so at this
time.  Please note, the merchants we are discussing, unless otherwise
stated, are not the food merchants.  At this time the only location the
food merchants can be is where they currently are.

 So many have asked why now?

 For years we have heard comments from both attendees and merchants
regarding the separate merchant areas.  Many of the new attendees admit to
not knowing there was two separate areas for merchants. They also admit
that when asked about the New Market area they have been told that the New
Market is for the “lesser” merchants who sell inferior goods. Many of the
New Market merchants have heard the same thing. And several had stated that
if things stay the way they are they would not be returning to Lilies War.

 And for as many years that we have been hearing these comments, the idea
of combining the two areas has been debated.  Both sets of perspective
Event Stewards for Lilies War 32, were keen on the idea of combining the
Old and New Market Areas.  The Committee agreed and the chosen Stewards
proceeded with the plan.

 Many have also commented on the logistics with the merchant staff.  There
are two members of the merchant staff that most, if not all merchants come
in contact with, the Merchant Liaison and the Merchant Coordinator.   The
Merchant Liaison handles any necessary paperwork during the “off war” cycle
and assists, when necessary, with any on site activates.  The Merchant
Coordinator, which is a merchant, handles all of the merchant forms and on
site merchant activities.  These two individuals are very familiar with the
merchants and very good at what they do.  They have the trust of both the
Committee and the Staff when it comes to any and all merchant issues. It
can be quite difficult to watch out for the three Merchant Coordinator and
run their own booth.  Ion the past the Coordinator has had volunteers to
assist them with these duties. But just as it is getting harder to find
volunteers to set up for an event or sit a gate shift or two, it is
becoming more difficult to find volunteers to provide the daily support
that the Merchant Coordinator needs.



Why the Old Market Area?

Our options were:

 1.       Move all the merchants to the New Market area.

a.       When the idea of moving all of the merchants to the New Market
area was last discussed, it was made known that if the plan were to proceed
multiple Old Market merchants would not be returning to Lilies War.

b.      After surveying the land, it is on a steeper grade (some areas more
than other), and there are certain areas that can get quite marshy when
storms come through camp.

c.       It is more centrally located in the camp as a whole, especially
since this upcoming war the battlefield will be located on the east end of
camp.



2.       Move all the Merchants to the Old Market area.

a.       With this choice, we know that at least 1 merchant has chosen not
to return to Lilies war.

b.      While the land is flatter, for the most part, moving the merchants
to this area will displace the campers who have traditionally camped there
the last several years.  However, this would not be the first time that
land would have to be acquired for a War activity.

c.       With the battlefield moving, having all the merchants in the Old
Market area will provide for a better draw to that end of camp.  With
Archery and the Food Court this will be an additional draw to the west side
of camp.



3.       Move all of the merchants to an entirely new area

a.       All of the merchants that have stated that they will not be
returning if forced to move, would do just that, not return to Lilies
War.   Thus losing even more merchants than either of the previous two
options.

b.      While there is other land that might be flatter, less marshy during
storms, or have less camping.  There are very few areas that have all
three, and are available for use by the war.

c.       There is no guarantee that the third location would provide the
best of land and camping conditions and be centrally located enough for
attendees to visit.  In fact, there are a few areas that could fit the
other criteria, but are so far removed from any other war activity that
merchants would not get any foot traffic during the week.



4.       Keep the Merchants where they were last year.

a.       This option would lose merchants as well.

b.      It would not address the many concerns that we have received from
both merchants and attendees.



Is there room in the Old Market area for all of the merchants?

 Fortunately, there is. Last year we saw just over 900 people come through
gate, which was in fact a 5% to 8% decline from the previous year. And some
of those were merchants.



Why didn’t you tell us about this sooner why keep it secret?

The final decision was made at the Lilies War Committee meeting at Kris
Kinder, on December 9th.  Yes the irony of deciding the fate of the
merchant areas while at a merchant event is not lost on us.  And it was
never our intent to keep this information from anyone.  All Lilies
Committee meeting are open to everyone. This was not one of them.  And
while we usually have a general idea of what will be discussed at each
meeting, you never really know what will come up and how long it will take
until you are in the middle of it.   After the meeting a medical issue came
up that prevented the announcement in court that evening.  A few days
later, the decision was made public for us, while at the same time the
Stewards were planning an announcement of their own and the Merchant Staff
was preparing the updated paperwork that will be sent out to merchants
soon.  Unfortunately, an additional delay occurred so we could answer other
urgent matters that had arisen.



Does Lilies care about merchants?

In fact, we do.  We understand that in order to thrive, we need to
encourage more merchants to come to Lilies War.  In order to do that we
need to provide the best atmosphere that Lilies War can provide.  That
includes combining the market areas, and asking the populace to continue
supporting all the merchant who attend the War as much as they can.  At
other events, please talk to other merchants about Lilies War and encourage
them to attend!  Perhaps together we can make Lilies War more than just a
vacation for some, perhaps we can turn it into a vacation with a thriving
and prosperous merchant area.  And frankly, more merchants and a better
shopping experience will attract more people.



What about those merchants who don’t wish to move from the New Market
area?

Since we are opening up that area for camping it means that if a merchant
doesn’t want to leave that area, for whatever reason, they can become an
in-camp merchant. They will have to follow the rules for being an in-camp
merchant.  But it’s an absolutely feasible option.



We believe this decision is for the best for our War. We have weighed
options, and as outlined earlier, the logical course of action is to
provide a consolidated merchant’s area where all merchants are all seen and
known, drawing not only hopefully more, but better and more profitable
shopping for our merchants. We know that not everyone likes this decision,
and that some will even take it personally. We…I apologize for that.  It is
never our intent to make anyone upset.  We also understand that individuals
have to do what they think is best for them and their situation, even if
that means not attending Lilies War any longer. But we ask that you please
try to understand that we, the Committee, have to do what we feel what is
best for Lilies War.


 As always, if you have any comments or questions about Lilies War please
contact us via email at:

Event Stewards – [log in to unmask]

Lilies War Chair – [log in to unmask]

 And if you are merchant and you have questions about merchanting at Lilies
War, please contact the Merchant Staff at [log in to unmask]

 Baroness Rebecca Beaumont, OP

Chair of the Lilies War Committee







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Baroness Rebecca Beaumont, O.P.
Shire of Oakheart
Kingdom of Calontir

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