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Few booths remain for trade show

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Area businesses and organizations that intend to take part in Fast Track 2014 but have not yet committed need to hurry to reserve booth spaces.

Only a dozen of the 154 spaces had not been reserved as of Tuesday, according to Amanda Witt, president of the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the annual trade show.

“Hopefully, by the end of January, we’ll be all sold out,” Witt said.

Fast Track 2014 is scheduled for 4-8 p.m. March 4-5 in the building behind the Clocktower Building at Commonwealth Centre, the former Tultex factory on Commonwealth Boulevard near Liberty Fair Mall.

Witt estimated that the chamber so far has received commitments to participate from about 125 businesses and organizations.

She did not yet know the exact number of participants because some have reserved more than one booth. Jim Mills Nissan has reserved six, she said as an example.

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 has said.

Trade shows in recent years were held in the Clocktower Building, but space in that building no longer is available. Witt said the new location on the same property will provide for larger booths and wider aisles.

Having a new location for the trade show periodically “keeps it fresh” because visitors do not see the same thing year after year, she said.

Chamber officials are trying to secure entertainment, door prizes and other amenities to attract people to the show.

Weather permitting, Fast Track is held on the first Tuesday and Wednesday every March.

Tuesday is VIP Night, open only to invited guests as a time for networking among business people. The night features “The Taste of Martinsville-Henry County,” enabling area eateries to serve samples of their specialties to help them drum up business.

Witt estimated that 11 or 12 restaurants and caterers will participate this year. They include two new participants — the Reynolds Homestead and the Spencer-Penn Centre, she said.

Fast Track 2014 will be open to the public on Wednesday for an admission fee of $2 or donation of two cans of food, which The Grace Network will give to the needy.

Last year was the first time food donations were accepted. Several hundred cans were collected, Witt said.

More people paid the entry fee, she said, “but we still had a really great amount of food” donated.


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