The Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce Business Show returns Friday following a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19 safety concerns.
This is the 27th year for the popular networking event, which allows businesses to showcase their offerings to both the community and one another.
“People don’t always know the services other businesses have to offer,” said chamber director Michelle Rotellini. “A lot of people are still under the impression that they have to go to Charleston or Roanoke for services, but we’ve really stepped up the services we have here.”
Rotellini said networking and educational events are important as they help keep money in the community.
“It’s important that we recycle our dollars inside Raleigh County,” she said. “The more money flowing through our local economy, the better the infrastructure. The better the education. If you live here, you should be doing business here.”
Although the past two years of uncertainty have hastened the closure of some local businesses, Rotellini points to those that have opened.
Among those, she said, are businesses owned by younger entrepreneurs, drawn to the region for its beauty and simplicity.
“There are so many things that make us special,” she said of southern West Virginia. “I’m blessed to be in a position where I get to brag about those things to folks who consider relocating here. The natural beauty this time of year and all year is incredible, but it’s really just the people.
“It’s the fact that the community still makes eye contact and still cares,” she continued. “People are incredibly friendly here and it’s such a pleasure doing business with one another.”
• • •
This year’s event honors veterans with the theme “Honor, Remember and Never Forget.”
“We feel it’s important to instill gratitude for what our veterans have done for the country,” Rotellini said, adding West Virginia has one of the largest populations of veterans in the United States. “It’s something we’re really proud of.”
Friday’s event will get underway at 10 a.m. with a flag raising and the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner.” A veterans’ tribute is scheduled for 11 a.m., and Active Southern West Virginia will lead those interested in aerobics at 1 p.m.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Rotellini said of the day, which will also include an Oreo stacking contest at 2 p.m. and a paint party led by the Beckley Art Center at 3 p.m. The day will feature recurring workplace demos, conversations about staying healthy in the workplace and a book signing by local author Diane Epling.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to leave with door prizes and giveaways from a variety of local businesses.
“The one thing that always encourages people to come out are freebies,” Rotellini said of giveaways including a 50-inch smart TV, rounds of golf at Glade Springs, massage therapy gift certificates and more than $900 in gas cards.
“We have a lot of great prizes.”
Rotellini said she hopes to see a large turnout for the event sponsored by New River Community and Technical College.
“It’s going to be a beautiful day,” she said. “We just want people to come out. This is a great opportunity to promote what you’re doing and to learn more about what others are doing.
“We want people to come out and network.”
• • •
The 27th Annual Beckley Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce Business Show will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Tamarack Marketplace.
There is no charge for admission.
— Email: [email protected]