By Stan Ashbee
Westwind Weekly News
Director Kevin Smith’s “Mallrats” from 1995 had one of the best lines, as one of the characters enters the local mall and announces, “I love the smell of commerce in the morning.” The Raymond Chamber of Commerce offers Raymond residents and southern Albertans the ultimate showcase of local businesses with its 8th Annual Trade Show Apr. 13 at the Raymond Arena from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is free for all ages.
Ann Williams is the treasurer of the Raymond chamber and has organized the annual event for the past three years. “We’ve got swag bags for the first 100 people. During the day, on the half hours, we have draws for all kinds of things. Part of it is, we have $20 and $100 trade show bucks,” Williams said. “Those trade show bucks are good for any vendor in the trade show.”
Williams said this year the event has 69 booths. “There’s still the odd one not filled yet,” she said. “We will have them filled.”
There’s a wide-variety of vendors this year too, Williams noted. “Everything from floors to an author,” she said, and Canadian Border Services will even be there. “A little bit of everything.”
According to Williams, the premise of the annual trade show is to showcase home-based businesses. “Raymond has very little storefronts. When we started looking, we had a huge home-based businesses. We are a very vibrant business community,” she said.
“We wanted to give these home-based businesses — from landscaping to plumbers or electricians and what not — the opportunity to come and have a storefront for a day,” Williams explained.
Last year, Williams said, the event had close to 750 visitors. “It was about 17 per cent of the Raymond community. We get from outside too. It was nice and steady.”
“Come and have fun,” she added. “And bring money to buy and learn.” Visitors are encouraged to bring cash, as some vendors will have products on sale. Some vendors may have mobile debit machines on-site.
There will also be a daycare centre corner during the event, Williams said. “With certified child-minders.”
Williams said the rebranded Raymond Rides will also be available for free rides the day of the event. “Call in and arrange for free rides,” she said.