ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce is preparing to debut its annual Home & Business Expo at a new location this year.
The big event - the chamber's 20th Home & Business Expo - is planned for March 4 and 5 at the James E. Carnes Center, located off Roscoe Road west of St. Clairsville on the site of the new Belmont County Fairgrounds.
Chamber officials are looking forward to the move and the new opportunities the 20th annual event will bring to vendors and visitors alike.
T-L Photo/ERIC AYRES
OFFICIALS FROM the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce are making plans for the 20th annual Home & Business Expo, which will be held at the James E. Carnes Center this year for the first time. The expo will be held on the first Friday and Saturday in March. Checking out the expo’s new site with Carnes Center Manager Chris Orris, center, are chamber officials and event committee members, from left, Scott Connors; Scott Stephens; certified appraiser Renee Garcia, who will be appraising antiques and collectibles during the event; Dean Holtsclaw, expo chairman; and Joe Czuchran. Not pictured is committee member Alicia Freeman. Visit cu.timesleaderonline.com.
The chamber is also inviting area businesses and organizations to participate in the event.
"The expo is a great way to showcase your own business and to find the help you need with business and home-improvement projects all under one roof," said Amy Aspenwall, executive director of the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce. "We need vendors now. You do not have to be a chamber member to participate in the expo as a vendor or a sponsor."
In years past, the chamber's Home & Business Expo has been held at the Ohio Valley Mall, with vendors set up throughout the mall's concourses. For this year's expo, chamber officials decided to relocate the event to a new site that will present new opportunities for everyone in attendance.
"We're very excited to be here at the Carnes Center," said Aspenwall, who joined other chamber officials at the site this past week for a planning session. "This is a destination show spot."
Dean Holtsclaw of the chamber's board of directors and chairman for this year's event said the mall has been a tremendous partner with them over the years, playing host to the popular event. However, this year the vendors and chamber officials were looking to hold the expo in a space that brought more of a focus on the participants and added more flexibility to what they could offer.
"We're going to have more of a home show flavor," said Holtsclaw. "We're very excited about the mix of vendors we're going to present, and we're excited about the new location and the opportunity to offer new kinds of displays.
"Holding the 2011 Home & Business Expo at the Carnes Center will pull everything together in one location."
Vendors will be able to secure 12-foot by 15-foot displays or set up on 6-foot tables, which will be new to the event. Those who are not able to staff their booths full-time during the show may now participate by setting up static displays. Vendors will also be able to take advantage of more flexible setup times on Thursday, March 3. They can set up anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. that day.
The expo hours will be Friday, March 4 from 1-8 p.m. and Saturday, March 5, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Teardown will take place on Saturday between 6-9 p.m.
"Participation in the expo is a great way to showcase your business to area shoppers," said Aspenwall. "It's also one of the chamber's biggest fundraisers, and it helps raise funds to cover our operating expenses for the year."
In addition to the vendor displays and demonstrations, the expo will also offer entertainment and attractions for visitors of all ages.
Renee Garcia, a certified professional appraiser from Belmont, will offer appraisals during the expo on Friday from 5-8 p.m. and on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. The first 50 appraisals each day will be free. After that, appraisals will be done for $5 per item, with a limit of one item per person.
Garcia specializes in antiques and collectibles such as American pottery and porcelain, china, art pottery, furniture, glassware, military items, Longaberger baskets and accessories, comic books, baseball cards, advertising items, toys, games, diecast collectibles, dolls, greeting cards, vintage sewing items, Christmas dcor and more. She does not do appraisals on firearms, original artwork or gemstones.
Chamber officials indicated that this special attraction of antique appraisals will be enjoyable to visitors who take advantage of it, particularly in light of the popularity of television programs such as Antiques Road Show, Pawn Stars, American Pickers and other shows that highlight the value of antiques and collectibles.
Also on hand at the expo will be Boogie Heads interactive video booths and Extreme Inflatables indoor courses for the youngsters.
For those interested in participating in the 2011 Home & Business Expo, contact the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce office at 130 W. Main St. in St. Clairsville at (740) 695-9623 or visit the Web site at www.stcchamber.com and link to the online application packages.
Ayres can be reached at email@example.com.