About 100 businesses are expected at the Central Pasco Chamber event
By B.C. Manion
When times are tough, small businesses need to band together, said Mary Lynn Gorsline, the leasing agent for Copperstone Executive Suites and Office Space.
That’s why she thinks it is important for business owners to meet and mingle with each other and with patrons — and that the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce’s 2011 Business Expo on March 4-5 provides an excellent venue to make that happen.
The event, now in its 21st year, also features Taste of Town on March 5, giving patrons a chance to sample foods from about a dozen local restaurants, said Kathy Dunkley, executive director of the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce.
This year’s expo has a Rock around the Clock theme, and exhibitors are encouraged to deck out their booths to help attract people to drop by and see what they have to offer, Dunkley said.
Dunkley expects about 100 businesses to have booths, representing everything from banks and real estate firms to fine jewelers and water conditioning companies.
Many of the exhibitors will be handing out freebies and door prizes, Dunkley said.
There’s also a contest, which gives participants a chance to win a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond by touring the booths and finding the image of a clock in select booths and having the exhibitor sign a form. Completed forms will be eligible for the drawing to win the prize.
Exhibitors can also win prizes for being creative with their booths.
The idea is to give patrons a place to find out about a vast array of companies offering products and services in Central Pasco, and to give those businesses a chance to showcase themselves, Dunkley said.
It’s also a great place to sample the fare of area restaurants for a steal, she added. Tickets are a $1 each or six for $5, and each sample costs one ticket, Dunkley said.
Many restaurants serve up generous portions, Dunkley said.
“You can eat like a king,” Dunkley said, adding the Taste of Town benefits a scholarship fund.
One event highlight will be a cooking demonstration by Ben Pumo, executive chef and owner of Benedetto’s Ristorante Italiano. He’ll display his culinary skills in an 11 a.m. demonstration on March 5 at the expo hall.
Pumo will be preparing “Chicken Benedetto,” the first recipe he created as a new chef.
Gorsline said she’s happy to take part in the expo.
She thinks the event offers businesses a wonderful opportunity to get to know more about each other and to introduce themselves to consumers.
In this economy, it’s especially important for small merchants to band together, Gorsline said. “People are hurting,” she said. “The more we can help, the better. We’re all in this together.”
She hopes people will pop by her booth to have their photos taken in the ‘50s-style cutout.
Gorsline plans to get into the spirit of the expo’s theme by wearing a pink poodle skirt and a white blouse and putting her hair in a ponytail.
“It’ll be fun,” Gorsline said.
If You Go
What: Business Expo and Taste of the Town
When: 4-7 p.m. March 4 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 5 for Business Expo
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 5 for Taste of the Town
Where: Land O’ Lakes Recreation Complex, 3032 Collier Parkway
Who: Businesses that offer products and services and people who are interested in finding out about what’s available, or who want to sample foods from area restaurants.