Chamber bringing back Reverse Trade Show for second year

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 23, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

RESERVE – Small businesses in the River Parishes will have something to offset the April showers next month when the River Regions Chamber of Commerce sponsors its second annual Reverse Trade Show at the National Guard Readiness Center in Reserve on April 4.
The reverse trade show is a creative means to help stimulate the local economy and will allow large industries to lobby for the services of small businesses, hence the “reverse” aspect. The event organizers said last year’s show was
a huge success, with more than 200 participants and 25 vendors. Sheila Butler, co-chair of the Business Development Committee, hopes that there will be even more participants this year.
“The trade show primarily allows large industries to open their doors to smaller businesses, and it helps them to better understand how to become a qualified supplier. It allows smaller businesses the opportunity to meet with industries that they may not have had the chance to meet. Many small businesses don’t know what they need in order to work with a larger company,” said Butler.
The event has already collected a fair amount of vendors. Attendees can look for participation from Dow, Valero, nSpire Technologies and Rainbow Chevrolet as well as several local government agencies.
This year, the trade show staff will charge a fee to attendees of the show rather than the vendors, as it was at last year’s event. Pre-registration prices are $50 for RRCC members and $75 for non-members. Door prizes will be $65 for members and $90 for non-members. There is no cost for vendors to participate. Both attendees and vendors must bring a resume of sorts to the event. The organizers of the event also ask that each attendee give an equal amount of time to each vendor.
“We ask this year that the attendees bring with them a one-pager to show what their businesses offer. We also ask that the vendors bring both a business card and one-pager with a list of what they it takes to become a qualified bidder with their company,” said Butler. “Last year we had long lines at certain tables because some people want to hit the bigger companies.  This year we want to stress that we want everyone to come and be prepared to spend a few minutes at each table.”
Besides the chance to have your small business exposed to larger industry, participants will have another incentive to attend.
“We’ll have ‘A Taste of St. John,’ which is offered by the St. John the Baptist Parish government and sponsored by the Economic Development Department. They will have food there from various vendors and local restaurants,” Butler said.
A St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy will also stand by this year to help monitor traffic and parking at the event.
The reverse trade show will run from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.Vendors who are interested in participating must RSVP to the event. For tickets, contact the River Regions Chamber of Commerce at 985-359-9777, or access the website at