2011-10-27 / Front Page

Island Chamber hosts business expo Nov. 3

BY TIM RIEL

Twenty-one businesses – along with four restaurants that will serve “chowda” to the guests – will participate in the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce’s business expo on Thursday, Nov. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the recreation center.

“I think it’s an important thing to do,” said chamber member Charlie Petit. “It gives [residents] a chance to meet the businesses, and the businesses a chance to meet them.”

Up until 2007, the business expo was an annual event held by the chamber, most recently held at the PAC Club in 2005 and 2006, and then at the rec center in 2007. Since then, leadership in the Chamber of Commerce discontinued the practice, and the expo has gone on a fouryear hiatus – until now.

“It hasn’t run for a few years, and I don’t really know why,” Petit said. “The chamber should really be doing this to support its members.”

According to Petit, the business expo will be “about 30” separate tables set up in the recreation center – one for each company – and it’s not only a chance to mingle, but also an opportunity to shop and support local merchants. “It’s a way to get to know the people you buy from,” he said.

Petit said that islanders will not only be able to learn about businesses in Jamestown – and a few from neighboring towns such as North Kingstown and Newport – but will also get the opportunity to meet and be personable with the owners, not just employees, of the businesses.

“There are no real major corporations in Jamestown so we get a lot of owners to show up,” he said. “Except for maybe the restaurant owners, since the expo is right in the middle of the dinner rush.”

Petit said the chamber is actively seeking to get more home-based businesses involved with the chamber. He said many aren’t interested, or that they are hard to reach.

“Overall, we’d love to get more of the home-based businesses involved with us,” he said. “I think there is a lot we can do to help them out.”

In the Economic Development section of the 2002 Jamestown Comprehensive Community Plan, the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce estimated that there were at least 30 home-based businesses with about 55 residents working from home.

Recently, that number has ballooned to 100 home-based businesses today, more than half of the 199 businesses that occupy the island.

“For some reason, some of the home-based businesses don’t think there is a point to be in the chamber,” said Petit. “We’d like to show them otherwise.”

Participating businesses at the Jamestown Business Expo will be Alite Care, Dutra Designs, Bank Newport, K.M. Gladding Excavating, Balance Sport & Fitness, Newport Federal, Kristine S. Trocki Esq., Polished Looks, Ocean Essence Spa, South County Hospital, John A. Murphy of Morneau & Murphy, Island Realty, Citizens Bank, Cathryn Jamieson Salon & Day Spa, Lila Delman Realty, View This, Purple Door Bead Shop, Bridges Inc., Jamestown Designs, Christopher & Regan Insurance, and Conanicut Marine Services.

Restaurants that will be on hand to serve Jamestowners free samples of “chowda” include Narragansett CafĂ©, Slice of Heaven, Trattoria Simpatico and Chopmist Charlie’s.

The “showcase of Jamestown businesses” is free and open to the public.

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