More than 1,000 Carson Valley residents packed the Douglas County Fairgrounds pavilion Thursday to attend the 14th Annual Carson Valley Chamber Business Showcase.
Seventy-one booths for retail and community services lined up to show their wares, provide free samples or inform the public about who they were, where they were located and what they provided to the community.
Mark Smith, an ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce and an insurance agent for American Family Insurance, said that he noticed a lot of new businesses had attended and a lot of established businesses had returned this year.
“They returned because they must have seen something good come out of last year’s event,” he said. “It’s good to meet a lot of people and get your name and face out there.”
Exposure was the goal for many businesses.
Terri Dickerson, owner of dog obedience school Sit Means Sit, attended the showcase for the first time this year. She has been in other business showcases and has been in business for six years.
“Exposure is important for any business,” she said. “I don’t care what it is.”
She said she hoped attending the showcase would provide her with more customers.
“I always follow up and try to book appointments after people sign our mailing list,” she said.
This is the fourth year that Carson Valley Community Theatre has attended. CVCT member Margaret Edson said she noticed more attendance at productions after attending a showcase.
“Even with as much advertising as we do there are still people that don’t know we exist,” she said. “It’s beneficial to us.”
Minden resident Mary Ellen Geiger has been in the Valley for five years and went to the showcase for the first time last week.
“We weren’t too familiar with the businesses in town,” she said. “But I found Chappell Ranch that does horseback riding. As a grandmother I’m always looking for things my granddaughter can do when she comes to visit from California.”
Even Valley residents who have attended past showcases found surprises at this year’s event.
Pete and Rhonda Bean said that they come every year for the “social aspect” of it and enjoy “meeting new businesses and old.”
“This year we were really impressed with the Tahoe Ridge Winery,” Pete said. “We were told by friends how good it was, but we’ve never been.”
“This was a good sampling,” Rhonda said, holding a small wine sample.
The couple said that they came to the showcase every year to support local businesses.
“A lot have gone belly up,” Pete said.
Retailers had many booths, but community services such as the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Douglas County Public Library and Care Flight were in attendance to inform the community of what they have to offer.
Care Flight representative Kurt Althof said that people only find out about Care Flight in “sad situations” and the showcase was a way to talk to people before they possibly had to call in an emergency situation.
“We’re not out in the general public very often so it’s a good way to answer questions,” he said. “We’re less concerned about selling memberships (Care Flight insurance) and more concerned with informing the public.”