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Fast Track trade show draws new exhibitors
Sunday, March 3, 2013
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
At least 22 new exhibitors — the most in recent years — will participate in the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce’s trade show this week.
Fast Track 2013 will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Clock Tower Building at Commonwealth Centre, the former Tultex plant, off Franklin Street.
The annual event is designed for area businesses and organizations to showcase their products and services.
New exhibitors always make it unique, said chamber President Amanda Witt. She said this year’s count of new exhibitors is the highest of any trade show held in the seven years she has worked for the chamber, and perhaps ever.
Those exhibitors include the Horsepasture Volunteer Rescue Squad, Pioneer Community Hospital of Patrick County, Teddy Mountain, Faneuil, Boy Scouts of America, Munchies & Krunchies, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Friedrich’s Family Eye Center, Stanburn Winery, Trey Jarrell Racing, CC Bakes, Tri-State Coating & Solutions and PHCC Culinary School.
They also include The Launch Place, the Shop Local initiative, Primland, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Virginia, QLifts, Dawson Photography, Mollie’s Originals, Second to Nature and the cafeteria at Memorial Hospital in Martinsville.
Some of the new exhibitors are businesses that recently opened and “want to get the word out,” Witt said.
Not only is it exciting to see new exhibitors, according to Witt, but also to see how returning exhibitors make their booths unique from year to year.
Witt did not have details of what many exhibitors are planning to showcase.
However, she said she understands the Martinsville Mustangs will introduce their new mascot, the SPCA again will bring animals that are up for adoption and the Nelson Automotive Group will have entertainment at its booth.
Tuesday is VIP Night, open only to invited guests. The night is intended to help participating businesses and organizations network.
A dress code will be enforced for VIP Night. Casual-type business clothing is appropriate. Jeans, sportswear and flip-flops, for instance, are inappropriate.
No one under 18 years of age is allowed at the trade show on VIP Night unless they are working at a booth and are under adult supervision.
The trade show will be open to the public on Wednesday. Admission on that day will be $2 or two cans of food to help the needy.
Again this year, an attraction at VIP Night will be “The Taste of Martinsville-Henry County,” in which area restaurants and caterers will provide samples of food they prepare and sell.
Samples will be rationed through a card system again this year.
One of the eateries taking part in VIP Night will be the cafeteria at Memorial Hospital. Witt said the hospital wants people to know that the cafeteria a chef on its staff and is open to the public.
In addition, the Martinsville Speedway will be serving its legendary hot dogs at the trade show.
“People won’t have to wait until April” to attend a NASCAR race to be able to eat one, Witt said.
Franklin Street next to the Clock Tower building will close to traffic at 2 p.m. Tuesday. An adjacent parking lot is reserved for employees of businesses in the building and will not be available to people attending the trade show.
A special parking area will be provided for exhibitors. Visitors will be able to park in lots near Lester Home Supply and the uptown business district. There will be people directing traffic into visitor parking areas, Witt said.
Still, she encourages people to carpool because parking spaces will be limited.
Nelson Automotive Group will provide shuttles to parking areas, she added.
Chamber officials say Fast Track has become the largest trade show in the region based on the number of businesses and organizations participating as well as the thousands of people who attend each year.
Witt said chamber of commerce presidents from Eden and Reidsville already have told her they plan to attend “to see why we’re so successful.”
She doesn’t mind.
Among chambers of commerce, “we all try to work together ... and learn from each other,” Witt said.