This year's edition of the Business Showcase will be better and more informative than ever, vows Janet Crane, manager of the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Crane, however, becomes tight-lipped when it comes to revealing details of the improvements.
"There are all kinds of new and exciting things and participating businesses, and everyone needs to come and check them out," she said. "But I don't want to name names or give too much away. I want people to be surprised."
Crane said, the Business Showcase provides "the best and easiest way to discover what's new on the local business front. The whole idea is to promote and showcase our local businesses, and to make potential customers aware of their services."
Now in its ninth year, the Business Showcase will be held April 20 and 21, inside and outside a circus-sized tent in front of the Rim Country Mall.
The 75 inside booths are already sold out, Crane said, but there are still a couple of spaces available outside the tent.
"Technically, we could probably go all the way around the tent, although we probably wouldn't," she said. "We have the whole front of the tent sold out, but we can go all the way down the sides if need be. Whatever we do, availability will be first-come, first-served."
In its debut year, the area's premiere annual business event attracted 800 to 1,000 visitors. During the past two years, the number held steady at around 6,000. For 2001, Crane said, "We're hoping to break the record. We want more."
The 2001 Business Showcase kicks off with the annual mixer. hosted by the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce. The mixer runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., April 20, and is open to chamber members and exhibitors only.
For everyone else, the fun and knowledge-gathering begins Saturday, April 21, when the booths will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Judging for eight inside-booth prizes will be from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. The categories include Best Theme, Best Business Presentation and Best of Show.
For more information, call Janet Crane at 474-4515.
Send in the rummage
Sunday, Santa's List's annual Community Rummage Sale will move into the tent space occupied by the Business Showcase, where "We'll have everything from small businesses to rummage to crafts to giveaways and bake sales," said organizer Scott Smith. "We estimate that anywhere between 3,000 to 5,000 will go through that tent in that one day."
Those throngs will be given the opportunity to rummage through about 90 booths filled with great bargains.
"We were able to get a few more spaces than the chamber, because we don't use the stage and they do," said Smith, adding that approximately 19 booths were still up for grabs.
For information regarding the Community Rummage Sale, call Scott Smith at 474-5853.