Local residents may drive past a great business every day and not be familiar with it, while another may have just opened up that does not have the exposure it needs to get the foot traffic a well-established family-owned enterprise already boasts.
Regardless of the circumstances, they are all a fabric of the community and local support is crucial to their survival and success.
In seeking to showcase what is being offered locally, the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce will sponsoring the 2014 Business Showcase, a first-time event that is providing a forum that which local businesses can show off the diverse entrepreneurial spirit that is present in Clinton and Sampson County.
The Business Showcase will be held from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11. It will be hosted by CenturyLink, 115 Fayetteville St., Clinton, next to Sampson Community Theatre.
For years, the Chamber previously hosted an expo for showcasing local members and businesses, and last year had a new member showcase at a Business After Hours. However, this event, in the vein of doing some of both, has encouraged new and old businesses to come out and display what they offer and talk to visitors who could soon become patrons.
“Since we don’t have the expo anymore, we wanted to do something where all our members had an opportunity to showcase themselves,” said Chamber executive director Janna Bass, who noted that the idea came out of brainstorming with the Chamber’s Board of Directors. “We do hear from our members that they would like more ways to show off their businesses and this is a way to do it.”
There are more than 30 businesses already signed up to be a part of the Sept. 11 showcase. Bass said that puts the CenturyLink building at capacity.
“Over 30 businesses and organizations have signed up to have a booth,” Bass said. “We are also going to have live music, hors d’ourvers and door prizes.”
The event is open to the public and Bass said the Chamber would like to have a great turnout.
“We just encourage the community to pop in and visit the booths. It’s a great way to find out who is out there and a good way to buy local and support local,” she remarked.
While there will be plenty of businesses representing downtown Clinton and the surrounding area, the event is not limited solely to Clinton businesses, with a couple from Roseboro and others in the county to be present.
“It’s definitely a countywide event,” the Chamber director said, “not specific to downtown. This is just a very informal way for our businesses to showcase their products and services.”
Having reached capacity, the showcase is already closed to participants and there are a few who are on waiting list. However, as many that want to come through and see the booths can do so. A “small fee” to have a booth at the showcase will go toward the event itself, with the remaining funds to go toward another of the Chamber’s worthy causes.
“Anything left over will go toward the Coat Closet,” Bass said, referring to the Chamber’s annual drive to give coats to those who need them.
She said Chamber officials and local business owners were looking forward to September’s showcase.
“We’re really excited with the response we’ve gotten, especially being our first time doing this. We didn’t know what to expect,” the Chamber director stated. “We just hope all our members and people in the community come out and support this event.”
For more information on the 2014 Business Showcase, call 910-592-6177, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.clintonsampsonchamber.org.
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-249-4616. Follow us on twitter @SampsonInd.