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Expo promotes local business, trends

POSTED: November 15, 2010 2:45 p.m.
The plight of small businesses in a tough economy is the focus of the Liberty 2010 Business Expo. The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce’s theme for the expo is “shop, save, support.”  Translated, this means shopping local helps support local businesses, particularly small ones, and boosts the local economy.
“For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 of that money returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures,” according to the business expo brochure.
The business expo will be held from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 16, at Bethesda Church on 116 Patriots Trail in Hinesville. Business people and residents can register for classes to be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
“Shopping local is hands-down the best way residents can help the local economy,” said Leah Poole, interim chamber director. Poole encourages working people to attend the expo on their lunch hours to browse, eat and learn. Club Stewart, Shane’s Rib Shack and Papa Murphy’s Pizza will serve food at the event, she said.
Information about the shop local movement, titled the 3/50 project, will be available at the expo, the interim chamber director said.
“They offer a lot of concrete data on (why you should) keep your business here,” Poole said.
Quoting from the 3/50 website, www.the350project.net, expo chairman Daniel Clark said, “If half the employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned independent businesses, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue.”
Clark said existing small businesses that are struggling and those thinking of opening a small business here, like military retirees, would especially benefit from classes offered at the expo. Two of the classes teach business owners how to sell to the government and Fort Stewart, he said.
Clark, owner of Imprint Warehouse, said he augments his sales by selling to Fort Stewart and other government entities.
“There are multiple million-dollar, multi-year contracts at Fort Stewart,” he said.
Of these extensive contracts, few go to local entities, Clark said. “But these (contractors) are looking for subcontractors. They must be registered and ready to do business with the federal government.”
Debbie Swindall with the Fort Stewart Central Contracting Office will facilitate one such class, and Larry Blige with Georgia Tech will lead a class on selling to the government, according to the chamber.
 “There are companies that offer these (types of) classes throughout the state.  They normally cost hundreds of dollars,” Clark said. Classes are free of charge at the expo, he added.
“They’re going to tell you what it takes to do business with them. If you follow the steps it truly does work,” Clark said.
Other classes offered at the expo include instruction on preparing a business plan and helping business women understand and benefit from new Small Business Administration rules and socio-economic categories, he said.
For more information, call the chamber at 368-4445.
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