Chamber holds Reverse Trade Show

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 28, 2012



RESERVE – Representatives for large and small business from across the River Parishes packed into the National Guard Readiness Center in Reserve Thursday in an effort to forge connections that could lead to future partnerships.

With the larger industries in the parish set up in booths across the floor of the center, smaller business owners went table to table showcasing products and services to the larger vendors in what was dubbed the region’s first Reverse Trade Show. The event was developed and organized by the River Region Chamber of Commerce.

“The goal was to bring together the larger and smaller businesses in the community to see how the two sides could do business,” said chamber member Sheila Butler, who chairs the Business Development Committee. “There are a number of office supply companies, janitorial service groups and other small entrepreneurs who want to do business with the major industries up and down the river, but most don’t know how to even get past the gates. This event is giving them a chance to mingle and create those relationships.”

Henry Friloux, Chamber chairman, said 12 major industries participated Thursday, along with representatives from the three parish governments and school systems. He said more than 140 smaller companies pre-registered for the event.

“The response has been exceptionally positive, considering this is a first-time event,” Friloux said. “It was something that everyone jumped on and obviously something that this community needs.”

Friloux said the overflow crowd at the Readiness Center was encouraging for future trade shows in the region.

Many of the industry leaders manning booths said the event has generated a wealth of connections and lots of positivity.

“There are so many individual business in this region who want to do business with the larger plants,” said Darren Duhe of Dow St. Charles. “We have gotten lots of great feedback from several smaller supply companies, printing companies and even some of the school systems.”

Brady Mooney of DuPont said Thursday’s event was similar to one he attended in Baton Rouge with similar results.

“It has been a great way to reach out to these smaller groups,” he said. “There are so many great opportunities for relationships.”