2013-09-20 / Front Page

Chamber event to put county businesses in spotlight

By JEFF LOWE
Staff Writer


Dr. Reg Cully from Cully Family Chiropractic talks with a visitor to his booth at a business spotlight organized last year by the Lampasas County Chamber of Commerce. The chamber will have its 2013 Business Showcase Thursday at the Hostess House. 
FILE PHOTO Dr. Reg Cully from Cully Family Chiropractic talks with a visitor to his booth at a business spotlight organized last year by the Lampasas County Chamber of Commerce. The chamber will have its 2013 Business Showcase Thursday at the Hostess House. FILE PHOTO Jill Carroll, executive director of the Lampasas County Chamber of Commerce, wants people to realize that Lampasas has much more to offer than it may seem at first glance.

To highlight the many products and services offered by local businesses, the chamber is hosting its second annual Business Showcase on Thursday.

Mrs. Carroll believes many locals would be surprised to know just how much the local economy – and the chamber – have to offer.

The showcase event will be from 4-7:30 p.m. at the historic Hostess House on U.S. Highway 281 South. The chamber welcomes the public to attend for an evening of food and wine, socializing, and learning about local businesses.

“There is a small fee, but it’s well worth it,” she said.

Ticket price for the event is $10, which Mrs. Carroll said is a great deal for everything that will be available.

Local restaurants and wineries will offer free samples, and every vendor will have items to give away, the chamber official said.

“Once [customers get there], they’re going to find out they can practically eat dinner here,” she said. “We’ll have restaurants doing samplings; we’ll have our wineries there. We offer tea and different drinks.”

Mrs. Carroll said last year’s event was a success, and she expects good results this year as well.

“We had great vendor participation last year, [and] we’ve got great participation this year,” she said. “I know it worked last year, or we wouldn’t have them coming back.”

The chamber director said about 55 local businesses will attend the showcase as vendors. Booths will be set up for vendors on both the bottom and top floors of the Hostess House, as well as on the lawn outside the building.

Last year, about 250 visitors came to the event, Mrs. Carroll said, and she hopes to see even more this year.

The chamber also will have a booth, and will offer visitors free maps and a large shopping bag.

Along with free samples from the various vendors, Mrs. Carroll said visitors to each booth also can enter a drawing for door prizes. Each prize is worth at least $50, she said.

Local restaurants and organizations will offer a variety of food, from barbecue to homecooked treats to Texas wines.

Mrs. Carroll said 2 Brothers Smokehouse, The County Seat restaurant, Fiesta Winery and Legato Winery will all be at the event.

H-E-B and Walmart also will be on hand to offer fresh food, and local nursing homes will serve candy and other sweets, she said.

Members of the Colorado River CattleWomen will serve beef bratwurst as well, Mrs. Carroll said, and there will be music for entertainment at the event.

Mrs. Carroll said members of the chamber had discussed various ways to approach the business showcase. They decided to hold it in a casual, relaxed setting with no guest speakers or lecture sessions.

“[There is] no huge structure to it, just a good open event,” she said.

Not only will the showcase be an opportunity for socializing and sampling food and drinks, but it also will let local consumers interact with business owners and learn what the companies offer.

“It’s a chance to get those potential customers in front of [local business owners], and really visit with them and learn more about what they do,” Mrs. Carroll said. “I think they’re going to be surprised when they find out what all is offered in Lampasas.”

The chamber director said the event benefits local enterprises by giving companies an opportunity to get the word out about their business. Too often, companies assume that just because they are in a small town, everybody knows about them and what they offer, Mrs. Carroll said.

“A lot of times, businesses open and they think, ‘Here I am, and everybody should know about me,’” she said. “[Customers] don’t really even take time to go in and find out what they do.”

Mrs. Carroll said Lampasasarea businesses have done well in recent years, considering the downturn in the overall economy.

“I think people have learned to do business in these economic times,” she said. “Times are not necessarily what they were 10 years ago, so I think people have kind of regrouped.

“We don’t have a rash of closings or anything like that,” she added. “There’s still growth out there. We’ve got new businesses opening.”

While the local economy is fairly strong, there is always room for improvement, and Mrs. Carroll hopes events like this can give a boost to business owners and consumers in town.

She said anybody is welcome to attend the showcase, even visitors who are not from Lampasas.

“The main thing that I want to get out there with this showcase is that it’s open to the public,” she said.

“I know the people that came last year had a good time, and they were really surprised at everything that was there.

“We really just wanted this to be a nice community social event where people can come out, visit with their co-workers and their neighbors, and see what other businesses are offering, just to get a good feel of Lampasas and our businesses,” Mrs. Carroll said.

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