Sunday, March 21, 2010

Forest Hills Community Expo, Grand Rapids - 3/16/10

This was the fifth annual expo and once again it was a great success, at least as it pertains to attendance. Held in the two gymnasiums of Ada Christian School, the event was sponsored by the Ada, Cascade, and East Paris business associations, and the vendors present were mainly drawn from those groups.

Our booth space for The Community, a church of socially-responsible, community-active members, was shared with the Farmers’ Market, sponsored by the Ada Downtown Development. Together with the Farmer’s Market and Ada Township, a children’s gardening program will begin this summer that will coincide with the successful Farmer’s Market, held on The Community’s property in Ada.

But back to the Expo: as one attendee put it, “it’s trick or treating for adults”. Although there’s a special “kids’ room”, the main purpose is to give exposure to local businesses and provide personal customer contact, and yes, attendees get free stuff. It’s a cornucopia of give-aways, ranging from lip gloss, funeral-home consulting, glasses cleaner, body wraps (you will lose 10 pounds in 45 minutes, being pitched by a woman with too much body fat to prove her point), banks, insurance & investment companies, car wash coupons, dry cleaners (25% off whatever you can fit in the give-away bag), bread, pizza, ice cream, soup, plastic firemen hats from the fire department - I could go on ad infinitum. Pens are ubiquitous and I picked up a few of those along with golf tees from an accounting firm.

It’s great fun to meet local business owners and take home a few treasures. How much they benefit from the exposure is for them to measure, and is probably difficult. So long as the booth cost is not prohibitive, it’s probably a worthwhile investment. And fyi, the Farmers’ Market in Ada begins mid-June and will continue through the end of September. The market is a beautiful sight to behold and will be enhanced by the children’s garden booth and additional vendors - shop local!

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