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Fast Track in the works
Despite late start in organization
Friday, December 20, 2013
By MICKEY POWELL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Getting a late start has not hindered the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce in organizing next year’s trade show.
About a third of the 154 booth spaces already have been sold, according to chamber President Amanda Witt. She expects all of the spaces will be sold by the end of January, although the deadline to reserve a space is Feb. 7.
“We are crossing our fingers” for good luck in reserving the spaces, Witt said of chamber officials.
Fast Track 2014 will be held from 4-8 p.m. March 4-5 at the Commonwealth Centre, formerly the Tultex factory off Commonwealth Boulevard.
Trade shows in recent years were held in the Clock Tower Building there. A call center aims to expand in that building, so next year’s expo will be held in another large building behind the tower building.
Finding a new location for the trade show resulted in a roughly month-long delay for the chamber in organizing the trade show, officials have said.
Witt said the chamber has gotten a lot of phone calls from businesses that are not members of the organization about participating in the show.
Some of those businesses are as far away as Roanoke, Lynchburg and near Greensboro, N.C., she said. She speculated they want to be part of Fast Track 2014 because they have customers in the Henry County-Martinsville area.
However, the businesses have told chamber staff members that “they hear it’s the largest (trade show) in the region. They’ve heard nothing but great things about it and they want to be part of it,” Witt added.
For businesses, a booth will cost $500 for chamber members and $680 for nonmembers. For nonprofit organizations, the cost is $350 for members and $530 for nonmembers. The extra $180 for nonmembers in both categories includes a year-long chamber membership, according to Witt.
Not only does Fast Track help businesses and organizations showcase their products and services, but it also helps the chamber expand its membership rolls, she emphasized.
The show’s new location has just one entrance and exit, so there should be a lesser risk for security issues, Witt said.
Another benefit to the new site, she said, is that it will be easier for people to move around in. For example, rows of booths will be wider, rest rooms will be on the same floor as the trade show and using stairs or elevators will not be necessary.
The trade show always is scheduled for the first Tuesday and Wednesday in March.
Tuesday is VIP Night, open only to invited guests as a time for networking among business people.
“The Taste of Martinsville-Henry County” will be part of VIP Night. Area restaurants and caterers will provide samples of their specialties.
Fast Track 2014 will be open to the public on Wednesday.