Jacksonville Daily Progress
Small local businesses were the star of the show during the first-ever Small Business Expo held Tuesday in Rusk.
Rusk resident and Relay for Life team captain Kathi Davis said she was inspired to organize the expo as a way to help support and grow small local businesses and raise funds to help the American Cancer Society cure cancer.
"I thought this would be a good way to help get the word out on some of our area's small businesses and raise money for a good cause," Davis, who also works for the city of Alto's Economic Development Corporation, said Tuesday. "It is vital to areas like ours that we support our smaller businesses. Not only because of the economic impact, which is important, but because these are our friends and neighbors."
Davis said she was pleased with the array of goods and services featured at Tuesday's event -- everything from dirt work and commercial printing services to hand-crafted jewelry and knit accessories -- and added only small business owners were allowed space for the event.
"We had a great turnout," Davis said. "I feel like we had a little something for everyone."
Event sponsor Chili's Grill & Bar in Jacksonville was on-hand through the event, serving free samples of popular menu items. Other sponsors for the Expo include Solaris Hospice and Christian radio station KSWP 90.9 in Lufkin.
Vendor Ann Marie Fraser was at the Expo offering homemade jellies and jams through her business, Annie Moo Moo's Gourmet Goodies in Rusk.
"I think this is a great opportunity for businesses like mine to get their name out there," she said. "I mean, Mom and Pop businesses are what built this country, and we should always seek out ways to support those establishments."
Casey Newcomb, with Cheveyo Graphics in Nacogdoches, agreed.
"We were very excited to participate," she said. "We've made lots of good contacts with people who now know our service is out there, which is very helpful since we're only in our first year of business!"
Davis said 100 percent of vendor fees raised through the Expo will be donated to the Relay for Life event set for Friday in Jacksonville.
"I want to make the Expo an annual event," she said. "So next year will be even bigger!"