In May 19 IssueBy John ThompsonTimes Journal Reporter
Russell County businesses will be gathering at the Russell County Schools Auditorium/Natatorium Complex on Tuesday for the Second Annual Russell County Business Expo.
The event, coordinated by the Russell County Chamber of Commerce and Lake Cumberland Area Development District's Cumberland's Workforce Network designed the Expo to be a free event to showcase businesses in Russell County and encourage Russell County consumers to shop where they live.
The development of the event came about after local businesses recognized a lack of knowledge within the community of the various local businesses, what they had to offer, and also to promote mutual support in business.
The 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. event attracted 60 businesses last year. This year the event will feature businesses that are members of the Russell County Chamber of Commerce, another benefit of being a member of the local chapter.
James Gray, 2010 President of the Russell County Chamber of Commerce had the idea for a Business Expo.
"It's a good opportunity for people to come out and see a lot of businesses in one place and everything they have to offer," said Gray. "I encourage people to stop by for a few minutes. I think they'll be surprised; when you get all those businesses in there and all set up and all those nice displays, it's pretty impressive."
Part of the attraction that will draw many citizens is the huge amounts of giveaways that businesses will offer up. Participating booths are encouraged to have giveaways, and each of the businesses will donate a gift worth at least $25 to be given away as a part of the door prize drawing that will be held throughout the event.
With approximately 50 businesses participating, the chances of winning a valuable prize are great. Last year's event drew over 500 local consumers, and the atmosphere was very upbeat with a lot of socializing. This year local radio stations WJRS as well as WHVE will be broadcasting live from the event.
"The whole focus of this event is to encourage is to help support local businesses," said Tonya Meece, committee member for the Russell County Business Expo, as well as owner of T&T Carpets and employee with Monticello Banking Company. "And these businesses support our community. Every time they're asked for donations, they're there. They support community events, local sports, so we need to support them as a community."
Buying local is said to have a "multiplier effect," circulating money closer to where it is spent. This creates a ripple effect as those businesses and their employees in turn spend your money locally. It's estimated that for every $1 spent at a locally owned business, $.45 is reinvested locally, whereas it's only about $.15 reinvested locally for every $1 spent at a chain store.
Joy Fletcher, the 2011 President of the Chamber of Commerce, emphasized that people may be surprised at the range of items carried by local vendors.
"People may not realize the broad range of products that our local businesses have, they may not realize what you can get at a feed store, or a hardware store or a carpet store," she said.
Mark your calendar, Tuesday, May 24, 2011 to join the Russell County Business Expo between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Russell County Auditorium/Natatorium Complex. For more information call Debbie Conner at the Russell County Chamber of Commerce at 270-866-4333.