Small businesses are an important part of the economy. Together with franchises and large chains, small businesses play a vital role in the local economy.
They’re familiar, comfortable, personable and approachable. They maintain a pleasant atmosphere that breeds the ideal environment for genuine human connection.
It’s about interacting with a smiling face, having authentic conversations with a real person, and having the comfort of knowing you’re participating in a mutually beneficial exchange in which you receive the goods and services you desire while supporting someone’s dream and bettering your community.
To commemorate the institutions that act as the lifeblood of the communities they serve, the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is hosting the 2022 Business Showcase event on Wednesday, October 19.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be having our Business Showcase trade show event during National Small Business Week,” says Leslie Courchesne, CEO at Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce.
A much-anticipated event, the energy surrounding its return is that much more electric following a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic in which many similar events were cancelled.
“The event has been well attended in the past, and I’m thinking there is a pent-up demand for these types of events,” says Courchesne. “We’re hoping to feature more than 50 businesses, many of whom will be sampling food and beverages, plus it is free for the public to attend.”
Something for everyone
The one-day trade show event will take place at Coquitlam’s Executive Plaza Hotel between 3 and 7 p.m., with ideal opportunities for exhibitors from the Tri-Cities area to network with fellow business owners and community members to promote and showcase their products and services.
For anyone potentially interested in participating, Courchesne enthusiastically encourages them to do so. “We invite Tri-Cities businesses to join us and showcase themselves,” she says. “We still have some exhibit booths available, but they are going fairly quickly.”
You don’t have to be a member of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce to participate, either.
“72% of our members at the Chamber are small businesses, with 30 employees or less,” Courchesne explains. “We look forward to celebrating that. This is such a great chance to profile themselves during the event.”
That said, there is much for regular attendees to enjoy, as well, with multiple incentives, including door prizes and more.
Special ‘ask the expert’ sessions will also be available, allowing attendees to simply “walk up, ask questions, and get advice on everything from marketing expertise to insurance to real estate, education and more,” Courchesne explains.
When asked what the typical demographic is for attendance and exhibits, Courchesne says it varies.
“It is a mix,” she explains, “from well-established businesses of small to medium size, as well as newcomers.”
While the focus is primarily on highlighting small businesses, larger organizations, consulting firms, and education facilities are sponsoring the event, including MNP, TD Canada Trust, and Coquitlam Continuing Education.
Rebuilding after hard times
It would be an understatement to say that the pandemic was hard on small businesses. Indeed, over two years since its onset, many small Tri-City businesses are still recovering from the financial repercussions.
This endurance and perseverance is a driving motivator behind the return of the Business Showcase event, and organizers are eager to provide these businesses with much-needed support.
“I would say that small businesses in so many ways are the backbone of our local economy and local prosperity, and in many ways have been the hardest hit during the pandemic,” Courchesne describes.
“I encourage all Tri-Cities residents to come on out, visit the trade show, visit these businesses, sample their products and food and support local.”
Say, you can't attend the event this time around—no worries!
"At the Chamber itself, we are the largest business association in the Tri-Cities," says Courchesne proudly. "Our website has our membership directory on it, so if someone couldn't attend, or wants to find an exhibitor’s contact information, by all means, they can look that member up right on our website."
"The Chamber is so proud to represent our local business members and provide these opportunities to showcase their business and advocate for them. We aim to ensure we are doing everything we can to help the local economy recover and thrive."