Shelby Dufee, Bernice Leroy, Ron Lengel, Carlos Gonzoles and Jennifer Evan (left to right) - all events center employees - help set up tables for booths for the expo.
Dolores Roberts (middle) VISTA volunteer with the BEAR program talks to vendors during the set up for the the Carbon County Business Expo. Gust Kalatzes (left) with the Price Auto Group and Jessica Basso(right) of KUSA are both vendors in the event.
The Business Expansion and Retention Program (BEAR), and the Business Center have joined together to present the Castle Country Business Market (CCBM) this Thursday and Friday at the Carbon County Events Center.
Focusing on providing small businesses a chance to increase awareness and become better known, the event is being facilitated by VISTA volunteers led by Dolores Roberts.
According to Roberts, the program started in a BEAR board meeting two months ago.
"I brought up the fact that many of our businesses were asking if we were going to have another Business Expo like the one Senator Bennett had put on a while back," said Roberts. "BEAR and the Business Center decided [to host an event] and joined together to present the 'Castle Valley Business Market.' Within two weeks, we had filled all 64 booths, 18 social services and government booths and a health fair comprised of 18 booths. We could tell by that we had a winner."
Fees for the CCBM are relatively low, in part because the county waived its fees for use of the events center. While this is the first time such an event has taken place, all the booths are taken. However, Roberts wants to make sure that the public knows the full extent of what the CCBM has to offer. Aside from the booths and educational classes, there will be a fashion show sponsored by local retailers as well as live entertainment, a food court and health fair. In cohesion with intentions of the event, everything featured in the CCBM is 100 percent local.
"We will also be featuring a fashion show (Beall's, JC Penney's and Maurice's) and will be showing you that you do not need to go over the mountain to be stylish," stated Roberts. "Our models are all local, ranging from one year old to 65 years old. We have a great food court going that will be featuring everything from barbeque and soups to donuts and candy. There will also be gourmet coffee for those in need. So come and have lunch or dinner with us and enjoy our entertainment while you eat."
The entertainment will be wide-ranging as well. "Our entertainers range from dancers to gymnasts to musical presentations," stated Roberts. "You don't want to miss 'Family Tradition', who will end each night with beautiful voices and a little comedy." She then compared the group with the Saliva Sisters.
Primarily, the CCBM is intended to promote the local economy. While economic conditions might be getting better nationwide, BEAR does not want to take any chances because the local financial situation is still delicate.
The event is also intended to help businesses keep trade local because, by some estimates, a large percentage of Carbon County's consumer money is spent in Utah County. This is largely because some demanded services have not been offered locally, outside of Wal-Mart or K-Mart.
While this is similar to the Bennett program presented here in some ways, it is also very different. Almost all the vendors are totally local. It is a good chance for people in the area to see what is here and to support local business.
The Market will be open on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.