Busy Sunday in Lighthouse Country

Businesses of Qualicum Bay, Bowser and Deep Bay display their wares at popular trade show

Betsy Poel

Holding two major events at the same time on the same day can be the kiss of death to both, as most organizers know. However, when the Lighthouse Country Business Association held their trade show on Sunday, they were well aware they would be doing so at the same time as the monthly Lions Club pancake breakfast.

They did it on purpose, said Jeff Shields, and it appears to have paid off.

The pancake breakfast, held at the Lighthouse Community Hall, was only steps away from the Lions Den hall next door. “Last year we were down at the Community Hall, in a small room,” Shields said. “We had 31 exhibitors crammed into a tiny space. This year we decided to step it up a bit. This is a much larger space and it makes it easier to get around.”

With a high-energy promotion at the pancake breakfast, the 40 booths at the hall saw a steady stream of visitors dropping by after they ate.

“The pancake breakfast gets anywhere from 500 to 700 people on a good day,” said Lighthouse Country Business Association president Betsy Poel. “Last year we wanted to see if we could promote local businesses at it and we filled the room, so we decided this year to go bigger, which is why we moved into the hall.”

The expansion was made possible, she noted, by a grant from the Northern Island Economic Fund, which allowed the association to use it to pay for advertising and trade show supply rentals. This allowed them to offset the cost to the exhibitors.

Those exhibitors, Shields said, covered a wide spectrum of products and services. “We’ve got fencing and moulding companies, repair services, contractors, realtors, chimney sweeps and stove sales. The Regional District of Nanaimo is here, Emergency Preparation is here. Bowser Hardware is doing popcorn for us today.”

Poel said she was pleased with the way this opportunity to highlight local businesses was turning out.

“Looking at the response I would like to have it every year,” she said.

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