Vendors cross fingers that Cash App, Square work ahead of Rochester art fest

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – For most small businesses, Cash App and Square are lifelines that allow them to conduct sales and payment transactions without using actual cash.

Last night, both were knocked offline across the country, causing major headlines for many.

The company behind these payment services says the system is mostly up and running again. It is great news for hundreds of vendors preparing for this weekend’s M&T Bank Clothesline Art Festival at the Memorial Art Gallery.

“After eight years of doing this, and applying for the first time ever, and getting in the first time, it was very, very exciting for us,” Michelle Lochner said.

Vendors from all over Monroe County and beyond spent the day setting up their tents for the 60th annual M&T Clothesline Art Festival, including Lochner and her business partner Christine Liberatore, who own Libbyloch Handmade Creations. Their handmade jewelry will be on display for sale this weekend.

“We just feel, like, over the last eight years we’ve grown so much and built a pretty good following and we are beyond excited to be here,” Lochner said

Unbeknownst to many vendors, the servers that run both Cash App and Square stopped working Thursday afternoon. Many use this cashless service for debit and credit card payments. Wraps on Wheels food truck owner Lou DiMarco dealt with the outage Thursday night.

“I informed people as they came to the window that we were not allowed to take credit cards. My server was down with the credit cards. We’d be only able to take cash,” he said.

Another outage going into this weekend’s festival would be detrimental.

“We do like 80 percent of our sales are credit cards and the only way you can do a credit card out in the open like this is through Square or one of those,” Elmwood Huff, a stained glass vendor, said. “Otherwise when you get home and try to put it through, it may not go through and you lost the sale, the money, and the product.”

Fine Art Photographer owner Stephen Spinder says if the systems were to fail again, he would still sell his pictures, albeit in a different way.

“Now the way I am with sales, I would probably still sell it. Sell the photograph and get their name and address, and hopefully they’ll pay me in the future,” he said.

A spokesperson from Square says the company is still tryin to get all functionality back and is investigating what improvements are needed to prevent this from happening again.

The festival does have ATMs on site.

It runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the grounds of the Memorial Art Gallery, 500 University Ave.