TERRA CEIA — A Terra Ceia non-profit organization is pitching in to help the small business community.
The Terra Ceia Island Village Improvement Association is organizing an arts and crafts business expo in an effort to encourage residents to shop local.
“This is one step towards stimulating the economy and the true sense of community,” said Delores Borbidge, project director for the Village Improvement Association. “The main thing is we want businesses to have the opportunity to get their name known, sell their product and maybe be able to make a better living at what they’re doing.”
The Village Improvement Association, a nonprofit dedicated to improving community relationships, will host the event next month.
Borbidge said the Village Improvement Association is impressed with the turnout so far — 62 business vendors registered — and see potential to host the event on an annual basis.
The nonprofit is charging business vendors a $15 fee to reserve a 10-foot by 10-foot booth. The fees will go toward this year’s event expenses, and the Village Improvement Association will save any remaining funds for next year’s arts and crafts show, Borbidge said.
Registered vendors such as Genevieve’s Island Time Clothing say the event could go a long way to give their business more exposure.
“I thought it was a great idea,” said Genevieve Lessard, owner of Island Time Clothing. “People love to attend arts and crafts shows. This will give me a chance to find new customers, and for the old customers to revisit me.”
The lull in construction motivated Barak Yavalar, owner of BY Construction, to register his business, which does stucco work and painting jobs.
“Hopefully, we can pick up some more work,” Yavalar said.
Borbidge said the Village Improvement Association wants the expo to reinforce the “shop local” message local chambers of commerce have been sending since the start of the recession.
“If the businesses can get their names out there and start making money, what money they make they will put it back into the community,” Borbidge said.
Terra Ceia resident Casey Ingram didn’t hesitate at the chance to register his business, Alma Ingram Flowers when the Village Improvement Association notified him about the event.
“The economy hasn’t been good, it’s been a very challenging time for most businesses,” Ingram said. “It’s always good to get more exposure and put your business out there with the way the economy is. Everybody wants to get as much exposure as they can.