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Valley chambers ready for bigger than ever Business Showcase 2001

January 13, 2001|By JASON ZARA, Staff Writer

The Imperial Valley may not have a shopping mall, but for one day more than 130 local businesses will be together under one roof.

The Imperial Valley Joint Chambers of Commerce Business Showcase 2001 is designed to promote local business and let residents see what is available here.

"We think it is important because it is a joint event of all the businesses in the Valley," said Gene Wilcox, chairman of the showcase and treasurer of the Holtville Chamber of Commerce. "It's a chance for the public to see lots of businesses in one place."

Staged in the Preble Building of the Imperial Valley Expo, the third annual event is bigger than ever. Restaurants and beverage distributors will be giving away samples while local businesses will promote their products and introduce themselves to the community.

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Cathy Kennerson, chief executive officer of the El Centro chamber, said 2,000 to 2,500 people attended last year's event and this year there likely will be even more. She said proceeds from the event's sponsors and vendors go toward joint chamber activities. This year the proceeds will go toward promoting tourism.

"The reason the joint chamber started it is to collectively promote the businesses from the Imperial Valley," she said. "We want to promote local businesses to our community."

"It's been very positive," she added.

Said Bill Blair, CEO of the Imperial Valley Expo: "I'm just happy that it's back here again. It's a great event for the community. I think we'll probably have more people come through the show than we did last year."

Because of a parking overflow last year, transportation will be offered from the parking lot to the show this year. Organizers said they wanted to make it easy for people to access the showcase. Wilcox said while last year's show was sold out, this year space was added and it sold out again.

"We want to welcome everybody to come … and see what's available in our Valley," Wilcox said.

The showcase will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Imperial Valley Expo in Imperial.

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