Godaiko Con is an old-school anime con that tries to go back to the day when cons were about promoting anime and many attendees were inspired to art and creativity. It's heavy on community focus.
They extend their community to include the vendors, and the vendors actually get their own panel. The staff noticed a lot of vendors were fans themselves, some in fact had grown from fans to professionals, so a vendor-centric panel was created. So of course, I asked them about it . . .
The Vendor panel gives vendors a chance to introduce themselves, talk about their experiences, and how they got there. One of the motivations of the panel is to dispel illusions and share information – Vendors see a lot people may take for granted or not realize that they know.
The results so far have been pretty good, getting a lot of attnetion, and even once causing a person to miss "regular" panels because of all the tales.
Sounds to me like Godaiko Con took the idea of "maybe the vendors could talk" and takes it all the way. Might be an idea to try for your con . . .