Payson's Business Showcase 2002 once again proved itself to be one of the Rim country's most popular traditions by pulling in about 6,000 visitors, according to Bob Ware, executive director of the co-sponsoring Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce.
"They just kept on coming," Ware said of the event's tenth edition, which was also made possible by the Tonto Apache Tribe/Mazatzal Casino. "We thought we were going to have rain, so we spent some extra money on sandbags to put around the edges of the tent. But the rain stayed away."
And the people did not.
"The morning started a little slow, but at about 9:30 they started piling in and never quit," Ware said. "At any one time, the tent had 600 or 700 people in it. All in all, we were exceedingly pleased."
The Friday night mixer that launched the Business Showcase was a big success too. With liquid refreshments provided by Nackard Beverages of Flagstaff, and Mexican food provided by Mackie's Grill, "There were easily 250 or more people in attendance," Ware said. "I don't know if that's a record, but I know it's close to a record because of our exceedingly high booth sales this year.
"It was a festive evening, as well as an opportunity for the vendors to chat with each other and that can be very helpful, because they figure out ways to spend money at each others' businesses. That's the whole idea behind the Business Showcase."
The winners' showcase
An estimated 6,000 visitors browsed through the big top at the annual Business Showcase last Saturday. The tent, set up in the Rim Country Mall parking lot, housed booths representing 96 local businesses and nonprofit organizations whose theme was "Business Fiesta."
This year's award winners were:
Kohl's Ranch Lodge Best of Show
Payson Regional Medical Center Dancers Best Theme Presentation
Hensley Door & Window Best Business Presentation
Back to Basics presents Just Makin Juice Best Sombrero
High Country Xeriscape Council of Arizona Best Outside Booth
SAFCU Credit Union Media Choice
Back to Basics presents Just Makin Juice Judges' Choice
White's Interior & Design Committee's Choice
Shepherd of the Pines Lutheran Church People's Choice