For any budding entrepreneur or well established business, stirring up the local market is an absolute must when first venturing into the seemingly daunting world of trade.
That’s exactly why the Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce showcased more than 25 local businesses during their annual trade show this past weekend.
“It really is a great way to advertise for your business and it’s a great way to potentially meet future clients face-to-face, rather than just putting an advertisement in the paper or on the radio,” says Chelsay Christian, the executive director for the Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce.
The event, which ran on May 11th and 12th at the Vanderhoof Arena, was commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce and was an opportune chance for community businesses to not only promote their respective products and services, but to reach out and interact with potential future clients and customers.
Plus, according to Christian, it’s the perfect way for locals to learn more about the businesses that are popping up in their community.
“I really just want the people of Vanderhoof to see what kind of different businesses they have here and the businesses that are available to them,” says Christian. “Not just that though, I want to showcase these businesses. The Chamber of Commerce is the voice of local businesses and I want people to be able to really get out there and meet some new clientele or some new customers and maybe some people that might have never known they existed.”
“What I think we’re really trying to do here is keep business local. Shop local and be in Vanderhoof. You don’t need to buy everything in Prince George of somewhere else when everything is right here,” says Christian.
For Christian, an event like the trade show also acts as a hub of information, in which locals can learn about the plethora of services that are being offered in town that they perhaps might not know about.
“I don’t think there is a lack of awareness about local businesses, but I think that some people might just assume that, for example, there might not be a taxidermy service in Vanderhoof so they would have to go somewhere else,” says Christian. “Well that’s not true. We do have one in Vanderhoof and it really is quite nice to be able to know about that.”
“It’s important for our public and our community to know that these different businesses offer a lot of different things.”
With anywhere from two to five thousand guests coming from surrounding communities partaking in the event in years past, Christian believes that the event can have a huge impact on the Vanderhoof’s business sector, even if they aren’t directly involved in the trade show itself.
“When those people are coming through Vanderhoof, they’ll obviously come and see the trade show. But, they’ll also be coming through Vanderhoof and hopefully, we will be able to send them through our downtown core to take a look at all the different shops we have here.”
“We want this weekend to be a busy one for all of our businesses. We want everybody to get the chance to be apart of the trade show even if they aren’t directly involved,” says Christian.
With people coming from communities like Fort St. James, Smithers, Burns Lake and even Prince George, Christian insists that the boost in population, no matter how small, and the promotion of vital local businesses is instrumental to invigorate Vanderhoof’s business sector.
“Every year in the past, the trade show has increased the population in Vanderhoof with the people who are coming through, says Christian. “Even if it is just a couple more people checking out our community, everything counts. Even if they are just grabbing a sandwich or a coffee, that definitely does help local business.”
The trade show wasn’t strictly business either. Door prizes were featured, with a helicopter ride for up to four people, donated by the local Yellowhead Helicopters branch, being one of the major interests. All other door prizes at the event were also donated by regional professionals.
For the Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce, promoting business is of utmost importance, but the trade show is more than just a two day advertisement. From local food vendors to community songwriters, Christian believes the social gathering has transformed into an entertaining occasion that could potentially mirror any small town fair.
“It’s just a really nice family event that is not very expensive, where you can honestly just wander around forever and see so many different things,” says Christian.