November 16 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

By Avery Wood

The Coachella Valley is having its own small business week this month, starting with a Regional Mixer, Expo, and Tasting event on November 16 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Fantasy Springs Special Event Center. According to Katie Stice, Regional President, East of Greater Coachella Valley Chamber of Commerce, organizer of the Expo, this inaugural event was specifically crafted to benefit the Coachella Valley economy. “There is an annual Small Business Week for the nation that takes place typically in May but the timing of that doesn’t work for the Coachella Valley, just because our season is ending in May,” she says. “We really wanted to start our own Small Business Week at the start of season… we’re really hoping that every November we can start a Small Business Week for the Coachella Valley, bring awareness and attention and thoughtfulness towards shopping small and shopping local, really highlighting our local small businesses that week.” Small Business Week will conclude with Small Business Saturday, which is a national event.

The event will be extremely varied and will feature many of the valley’s businesses and restaurants. “The Expo will have well over 100 exhibitors there… it’s also our regional mixer for that month so it’s going to be a lot of business to business networking happening there and it’s also a tasting because 10 to 12 of the exhibitor booths that will be there will be local restaurants serving out different tastings,” Stice says. “One of the ideas behind the event is to really highlight the treasures in the Coachella Valley that really make the desert special.”

There will also be activities put together by local organizations for attendees to participate in. “It’s really meant to be a very interactive expo… CareerBuilder Challenge will be there with a putting green, they’ll have the Bob Hope cart there, Escape Room Palm Springs will be there with some really fun challenges… there will be a cooking demo… it’ll be a really energetic and interactive group.” Stice says. In addition, Coachella Valley Association of Government (CVAG) is going to display a CV Link experience that will be a large exhibit that will allow attendees to experience what CV Link would be like.

The showroom will also include three themed villages by Desert Valley Builders Association (DVBA); Aging Community Team (ACT 1), a medical nonprofit; and Business Networking International (BNI).

Stice hopes that the event attracts a diverse audience and is confident that as attendees peruse the booths, they’ll come across businesses that they already frequent or that they recognize as unique to the Coachella Valley and will be excited to be able to speak with the owner. She emphasizes that the Expo will help both the public and business owners familiarize themselves with local businesses and organizations or catch up with community members they’re already aware of.

The importance of supporting the local economy is the main message of the Expo, with Stice saying, “Local business owners spend their money locally, they send their kids to our schools… they are donating back to our nonprofit organizations, they’re invested in our community. So by shopping local and shopping small, it’s really strengthening our local economy. We want to celebrate that and support those local businesses. By shopping local… you’re helping people keep their jobs, your neighbor, your friend.”

The event will also “have a business resource area for our business community” which will include Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP), East Valley Coalition, and Rotary Group. “I highly encourage the managers and CEOs to bring some of their emerging leaders from their offices out to really start to get a good idea of who makes up our strong business community.”

The Expo also boasts Desert Insurance Solutions as the title sponsor. “To have another small, locally owned business step up to be the title sponsor of the event is really special in my eyes. I love the fact that this event is created for the community by the community,” Stice says.

Small Business Week will also include a television campaign in which local business owners talk about how many local residents they employ. Tickets to the Expo, Mixer, and Tasting are $5 and include all parts of the event and entry in a raffle for a cruise for two. For tickets or more information visit gcvcc.org.

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