WHITESBORO — The Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for its Chamber Approved Business Showcase, set for Oct. 18 at Harts Hill Inn.
This year’s showcase, which is free to attend, kicks off with a speed-networking event from 12:30 to 2 p.m., giving member vendors a chance to network with each other before mingling with the public during the showcase from 2 to 7 p.m., MV Chamber Executive Director Pamela Matt says.
“It gives us another thing to offer and also increases traffic,” she says of the speed networking. While the showcase is a successful event, Matt notes, the chamber received feedback from vendors saying they’d like to see a little more traffic at the event. She hopes the speed-networking event will help draw business people who aren’t taking a booth at the showcase, but still want that chance to meet with other business people.
The MV Chamber is also holding a Business After Hours event at the close of the showcase from 5 to 7 p.m., and that should also help attract attendees, Matt says. She hopes the after-hours event draws visitors who don’t typically attend the monthly event. “Maybe we’ll even get some new membership out of it,” she adds.
“Those two [events] combined are really trying to get different sorts of community leaders and business professionals in there,” she says.
Matt is also working hard to push the “chamber approved” moniker for the show. “We’re trying to really start to promote what ‘chamber-approved’ means,” she says. The chamber adopted the “chamber-approved” motto within the past five years and it really means an event that features member-to-member interaction. That’s exactly what the showcase is, Matt notes, as vendors must be chamber members. While the focus is on that member-to-member interaction, the showcase offers more networking opportunities as well, since it is open to the public to attend, she adds.
Booths for the event are limited to 50 business booths at a cost of $250 per booth and five food/beverage booths for $150 per booth.
The MV Chamber adopted the smaller showcase setup about three years ago, and it’s proven to be a successful format, Matt says. “With the smaller venue, it really works,” she says. Through 2008, the chamber hosted a much larger business show at the Utica Memorial Auditorium with upwards of 100 business booths, but moved to the smaller event format and venue in 2010.
Matt, who took over as the MV Chamber’s executive director in 2011, says the smaller venue seems to promote more mingling and interaction among vendors.
More information about the Chamber Approved Business Showcase, including sponsorship opportunities, is available online at www.mvchamber.org.