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Annual Small Biz Expo Returns

Friday, September 1, 2017

October is Small Business Month in Canada, and a great opportunity to highlight Windsor and Essex County entrepreneurs.

Now in its third year, the WindsorEssex Small Business Centre will host its signature, annual event, the Small Biz Expo, on October 18, 2017, from 5pm to 9pm, at the Giovanni Caboto Club, in Windsor.  Admission to the public will be free, but the Small Business Centre is encouraging people to bring canned goods or donations for a local charity.

The Small Biz Expo is a free public event that showcases the diversity of independent small business products and services from Windsor-Essex.  Area residents, who love local, can shop local at the expo, where they will find regional food and drink vendors, retail products in fashion, beauty, health, and homewares, and consumer services.  There will also be networking opportunities, live demonstrations, door prizes, and entertainment.

Some of the businesses set for this year’s expo include food and beverage vendors such as Robbie’s Gourmet Sausage Co., I LUV Coffee, Sweet Revenge Bake Shop, and Licia Ruby Food Co.; artisan businesses such as Urban Art Market, Windermere Art Gallery, Witch and Whimsey, and Dave’s Woodworking; and mind and body vendors, H’OM Wellness Centre and Optimal Chiropractic.

Last year’s event drew 50 small business exhibitors and nearly 400 attendees.  Growing interest from exhibitors means that the Small Biz Expo will expand this year to a larger space at the Caboto Club that will accommodate over 75 vendors and a new B2B Networking Lounge for non-consumer based businesses to exhibit and network.

While the Small Biz Expo serves to enhance public awareness of local small businesses, it’s also a great opportunity for businesses to connect with each other.

Little Foot Foods, which specializes in homemade pierogis, will return to the Small Biz Expo for a third year.  Co-owner Rachael Myers, said they were able to build partnerships with other local businesses they met at the event.

“The first year that we did [the expo] we started working with Dressed by an Olive … they were there, and they talked to us about having our product in their store.  In the second year, we started working with Sweet Revenge Bake Shop and they had our product in their store for a period of time,” said Myers.

“We really enjoying being with other small businesses. … it’s a great networking place for us.”

Since launching in 2013, Little Foot Foods has expanded from distributing its products through home delivery, local markets, and consumer events, to having its own brick and mortar store.

“We used to work out of a community centre and deliver once a week.  Eventually, we moved that to twice a week (delivery), and now we have a storefront, so we’ve changed quite about since then.  We had probably two or four flavours of pierogis the first year we started, and now we have over 25,” said Myers, adding that their products are now sold in local stores throughout Windsor.

Myers said she looks forward to returning to the Small Biz Expo in October.  “The [Small Biz Expo] is a great way to get our name out in the community.  It lets people in the community, who want to support small business … know we have a product that’s worth coming out of their way to come to our store.”

Application to be a Small Biz Expo vendor is open and tickets can be reserved online.  Attendees can also reserve their free ticket to be entered into a draw for door prizes.  For more information about the expo, and to see a list of participating businesses, visit the Small Biz Expo website.