BY KALISHA MENDONSA
Featuring virtually something for nearly everybody, the 36th annual Lacombe & District Chamber of Commerce Spring Trade Show is set to run April 21st and April 22nd at the Gary Moe Sportsplex.
Hours on April 21st are from 2 to 8 p.m. and on April 22nd, things get underway at 10 a.m. with the show closing at 4 p.m.
Admission is $1 per person with proceeds supporting the Chamber’s annual scholarship program. This year, the show is brought to the community by the sponsorship of Lacombe Ford.
“It’s definitely a great opportunity for local business owners here in Lacombe to showcase either products or their services – sometimes, it’s also an introduction to the community of the vendors that represent new businesses this year,” said Monica Bartman, executive director with the Lacombe & District Chamber of Commerce.
“They are kind of at that point where it’s more about awareness,” she said. Others, such as some insurance providers or financial institutions are often onhand to enjoy a face-to-face chat with their existing customers as well, she said, pointing out the tremendous networking opportunities that the Spring Trade Show offers local businesses and services both new and well established. “It’s also about interacting with the public and reconnecting with some of the people that they are already doing business with.
“Another networking perspective as well is the chance for vendors to chat with other vendors as well, and getting to know some other business owners here in town or within the Central Alberta region,” she said. “Sometimes, new opportunities and partnerships can come out of that, too.”
This year, Bartman said there are 90 vendors who have registered to take part in the show.
“We’ve been able to add a few booths in the second arena, so I think we are sitting at about 90 vendors in the main trade show, and then we also have a market place running in the curling rink at the same time so there’s going to be about another 50 vendors in the market place also,” she said. “It’s huge!”
Bartman said the goal is to provide visitors with a look at the businesses and services that they specifically need to access.
“It’s definitely a community event,” she said. “You go to the Trade Show, and you know that you are going to run into a tonne of people, some of whom you may not have seen for quite a while,” she added. “There is lots of catching up happening, and lots of visiting among the attendees as well, so that’s kind of neat to see,” she said.
And although it’s a dollar to enter, Bartman said folks are welcome to add a bit donation-wise to help support the growth of the scholarship fund. “Last year, we made $2,500 for the scholarship fund,” she said, adding the Chamber awards up to two scholarships of $1,250 each.
This year, she’s hoping that they can raise $3,000 for the fund. “It would be great at the end of it to let the public know about the impact they made on the scholarship fund,” she said.
Another aspect of the Spring Trade Show is that Lacombe County and the City of Lacombe always take part as well, providing a means of the public being able to connect with officials. The City holds their Coffee with Council during the event as well, on April 22nd.
A new feature this year will also be a special area dedicated to health and fitness organizations in the City as well.
“We really wanted to bring those in so that people could learn about what there is out there,” she explained.
Ultimately, Bartman said one of the things she really likes about the Spring Trade Show, which she also describes as very family-friendly, is that there is so much variety.
“What I hope is that everyone who attends comes away with something of value for them specifically,” she said. “So if they are looking for volunteer opportunities, that they were able to connect with one of the non-profits that will be at the show and get things set up that way.
“Or if they were looking to do renovations in their home, I hope they are going home with a contact they are going to call to come in and do a given project. Or if they are looking for retail products in the market place, they are able to find what they are looking for there. I’d like everyone to feel like there is something there for them.”
Bartman added a special thanks to the hard work and dedication of Helen Peck, who has spent many hours working on sales and promotions for the event.
For more information, check out www.lacombechamber.ca.