Community building on business

Lighthouse Country Business Association trade show draws hundreds

Businesses operating in Lighthouse Country — Qualicum Bay to Deep Bay — gathered Sunday at the Lighthouse Community Centre for a half-day trade show

Businesses operating in Lighthouse Country — Qualicum Bay to Deep Bay — gathered Sunday at the Lighthouse Community Centre for a half-day trade show

For the businesses involved in the Lighthouse Country Business Association’s first half-day trade show Sunday, it was a  chance to make some connections in their community.

That’s all organizers of the event could have hoped for.

Betsy Poel, business association president, says that was the goal — to introduce area residents to the people who run businesses in Lighthouse Country — Qualicum Bay to Deep Bay. With around 140 businesses, large and small, Poel said she often hears from people how they have to go elsewhere for some services. However, she notes, plenty of those services are available closer to home.

“The idea is to encourage people to shop locally,” she said in the midst of a busy Lighthouse Community Hall on Sunday.

“People need to know that these (business owners) are their neighbours.”

The trade show was planned to run alongside the regular monthly pancake breakfast and flea market.

Organizer Arlene Veenhof, who runs her own small business as well, said they had initially hoped there would be 10 local business taking part.

Instead, they got 32.

“A lot of them are home-based businesses,” said Veenhof. “And all they need is to get the message out that they are here, and how people can fund them.”

For example, Veenhof said there are three hairdressers in the area — but many people might not know that, and travel out-of-area for that service.

That’s one of the misconceptions the trade show was hoping to change.

A full house almost from the start to the end of the event, the business association is happy with the turnout and plan on holding similar events next year.