Tolland County Chamber's Business Showcase will make networking fun

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
South Windsor/Tolland County - posted Fri., Mar. 22, 2013
Henry Liss and Leah Fiano learn about each other's businesses at last year's Business Showcase. File photo by Steve Smith.
Henry Liss and Leah Fiano learn about each other's businesses at last year's Business Showcase. File photo by Steve Smith.

The Tolland County Chamber of Commerce's annual Business Showcase will take place April 3 at Maneeley's Banquet Facility in South Windsor. Chamber Executive Director Candice Corcione said the vending space for the event is sold out, with 65 vendors, and most of them will have free giveaways.

A new wrinkle will be “Hot Spots.” People will get a card with 20 “Hot Spot” booths listed, and the booths get checked off as they are visited. Completed cards will then be in a drawing for a 32-inch flat screen television.

Tickets will also be available for a cash raffle, with prizes ranging from $100 to $1,000, and proceeds benefiting the Chamber's scholarships.

Several vendors, including Request-a-Chef, Rein's Deli and Maneeley's will be giving out food samples, and representatives from the Nathan Hale Inn will be bringing their coveted chocolate macaroons.

New vendors include Awards and More, Opportunity Works, Coventry Self-Storage, Avon, and Pasties 4 Pets, which is a gourmet pet snack bakery out of Stafford.

Another part of the showcase is always the networking between vendors. At last year's event, many business leaders said they were pleased with the connections they made, including Kristi Dougherty, executive director of Vernon Manor.

“This is a win-win,” Dougherty said. “I am overwhelmed with how many people show up and the types of displays that they have. A lot of [otherwise] competitors get together and are being helpful to each other. I have a lot of good stuff to take back.”

Gary Mackintosh, general manager of Swiss Cleaners in Rockville, said he was able to connect with a lot of current customers and receive their feedback, which was mostly positive. “People have stories to tell about how we did a great job with their wedding gown,” Mackintosh said, as one example. “It's kind of a potpourri of things going on. The big thing for us is to meet people and let them know about what's going on.”

“It's really one of the best ways for businesses to display their goods and services,” Corcione said. “It gives the community a chance to see what their local businesses are, and a really good way for businesses to let people in the community know who they are and what they offer.”

At the showcase, the Chamber, along with Big Y and the Chamber Insurance Trust, will also be launching a new prescription plan for Chamber members. Substantial discounts will be available on 300 medications as well as flu shots, without an enrollment fee. Corcione said Tolland County is the first chamber in the state to offer the program.

The Business Showcase runs from 4 to 7 p.m., on April 3, at Maneeley's Banquet Facility, 65 Rye St., in South Windsor.

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