The primary purpose of the Chamber of Commerce is to support its members and local commerce. With the current state of the economy and ever increasing gas prices, this goal is more important than ever. One way to accomplish this is by encouraging the community to shop locally. The upcoming Chamber Expo, September 19 and 20, is a great venue for businesses to showcase themselves while also letting the community know they don’t have to travel outside the River Valley area to meet their consumer needs.

While there has been a positive response to the return of the Expo, the Chamber is aware the economy is entering a belt tightening phase, and businesses have to take a hard look at their budget before committing to a booth rental or sponsorship. It is an understandable concern, and we want to help.

The Expo committee has decided the Expo will not be a fundraising event this year; all monies raised will go toward putting on the event. The Chamber will work with businesses to help them take advantage of this event. If you need help setting up your booth, or if you’re having trouble making a lump sum payment on your booth rental, give us a call. These are the kinds of things we can help with.

To put on the Expo, we need an increase in participation from the community over the next few weeks. We have restructured the price range of the sponsorships this year to accommodate a wider range of businesses. Businesses are also encouraged to join together to make sponsorships even more affordable. Sponsorships start at $250, and booth rentals start at $125. There is a real need for volunteers this year; everything counts, from an hour spent arranging tables at the event, an offering of professional services or being the MC during the Expo on the PA system – every bit of assistance would be appreciated.

Typically, the Expo has over 2000 in attendance, and this year we are encouraging participants to hand out coupons rather than “freebies” from their place of business. It is our aim to entice shoppers with our local products and services.

We are sending out this announcement to see how many businesses will be on board in the next few weeks. The Expo committee will reassess the participation level at the end of the month, with the hope being that we see the business community taking an active part in promoting what the River Valley has to offer. Please feel free to contact Keri at the Chamber office, 364-3241, with any questions or comments.

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