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Chamber trade show booked

Friday, February 15, 2013

Don’t bother trying to find the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce’s booth at its upcoming trade show.

“We sold it,” chamber President Amanda Witt told the organization’s board on Thursday, noting that all of the exhibition spaces have been rented.

Instead of being stationed at a booth, chamber officials will wear badges identifying them as they walk around the show.

Fast Track 2013 will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. March 5-6 at the Clock Tower Building at Commonwealth Centre, the former Tultex plant off Franklin Street.

The expo helps area businesses and organizations showcase their products and services. Chamber officials say it is the region’s largest trade show.

Witt said there will be 133 exhibitors this year, including 23 new ones.

Among the exhibitors, she said, 62 percent are service-oriented businesses, 31 percent are nonprofit organizations and 7 percent are manufacturers.

Opening night, which is on a Tuesday, is VIP Night, open only to invited guests to help businesses and organizations network.

On Wednesday, the show will be open to the public for a $2 fee or a donation of two canned food items to help the needy, Witt said.

Again this year, “The Taste of Martinsville-Henry County” will be part of VIP Night. Visitors will be able to sample food prepared by local restaurants and caterers.

Witt said the chamber is working to make sure enough parking is available for trade show-goers as well as employees of businesses at Commonwealth Centre.

On another matter, Witt announced during the chamber board meeting that the chamber has taken a position on Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation package.

According to a position statement released during the meeting, the chamber is “supportive of a new source of revenue for transportation maintenance and new projects as it (a quality transportation system) is a critical key to our (state’s) economic success.”

“However, we are opposed to the elimination of existing revenue streams where all users of our (state’s) transportation systems and infrastructure are participating in the funding in the form of user fees,” the statement reads, citing the gas tax as an example of such a fee.

Still, “we would support an adjustment in the sales tax if it is dedicated to transportation funding,” the statement adds.

Both General Assembly chambers are trying to work out their differences on the original bill, which originally eliminated the state gas tax. The Senate wants the tax restored and increased by a nickel to 22.5 cents per gallon.

Witt said the chamber took its position after state officials inquired about the organization’s opinions on the governor’s package.

The chamber board approved five new members on Thursday. They are CC Bakes, SHINE Systems and Technologies, Healthy Habits, Storage Inn and Teddy Mountain.

There were two drops — Glenn Franklin Koontz and Teamwork Ministries — from the membership rolls.

The chamber now has 638 members.

 

 
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