Ukee fair fosters growth climate for local business

Local business gets a showcase this Friday and Saturday, thanks to the First Annual Business Fair, sponsored by the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce.

Set for Friday from 1-6 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., the free event, set at the culmination of B.C. Chamber of Commerce Week, is a first for the chamber.. said executive director Susan Payne. “It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a couple years, to expose some of the businesses that have cool services that people don’t know about and to open it up to the public – kind of a shop-local thing,” Payne said.

“Hopefully, this will be the first of one every year,” she said.

There is still room for a few more businesses at the tables, which are free to chamber members, Payne said.

As an added treat, the chamber is working with Marcie deWitt of sponsor Eat West Coast to bring in area growers and farmers in a “Meet Your Maker” event, so businesses and families can connect with regional food producers and find new local sources of good food. (See Page 4 for Local Voice with Marcie DeWitt).

“It’s a good way to see what’s locally grown,” Payne said.

The range of business types available to local customers is getting more diverse, she said.

“There are a lot of things available that people don’t realize – it’s more competitive than they realize as well. A lot of people go out of town because they think they can get better pricing, but it’s often the same,” she said.

Entrepreneurs attracted to the beauty and lifestyle of the West Coast are helping broaden the field, Payne said.

“More and more, we’re seeing people moving into the community with new, niche-y kinds of businesses, and this fair is a way to get them some exposure, I’m hoping,” Payne said. Other sponsors for the event include the Westerly News and the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust.