By Kevin Kelley
If you’re looking for a free afternoon snack or light dinner next Thursday, the place to be is the Gemini Center.
That’s where numerous area restaurants and food vendors will be offering free samples as part of the second annual Fairview Park Chamber of Commerce Business Showcase.
The April 26 event runs from 2 to 7 p.m. at the city’s recreation center, located at 21225 Lorain Road. It’s free and open to everyone, not just Fairview Park residents.
At last year’s inaugural event, 67 area businesses, shops and restaurants reserved exhibit space. That far exceeded the organizers’ goal of 50 exhibitors.
John Sobolewski, executive director of the Fairview Park Chamber of Commerce, said the organization hopes to sign up even more businesses and more attendees, who numbered more than 500 in 2011, than were at the event last year.
“Just about everyone that was there last year will be there this year,” Sobolewski said. “They loved it.”
The business expo gives local firms the opportunity to expand their customer base and gain greater exposure to consumers in the area, Sobolewski said.
Just as it did last year, the Chamber mailed postcards promoting the event to all Fairview Park residents. But organizers are also aiming for a larger audience.
“We have people coming from West Park, Fairview Park, North Olmsted, everywhere,” Sobolewski noted.
The Kamm’s Corners Development Corp., which promotes the West Park neighborhood, sent its members and followers an e-mail promoting the Fairview Chamber’s Business Showcase, said Angelo Russo, a chamber trustee who is chairman of the business expo.
“A few vendors will be doing raffles, so there will be some neat items to win,” Russo said.
All exhibitors except the restaurants, which are expected to provide food samples to visitors, pay between $150 and $400 for tables at the expo. There’s still time for businesses to reserve space. Forms and information can be downloaded from the Chamber’s website at www.fairviewchamber.org.
Becker’s Donuts, Panera Bread, Stamper’s Grill Pub and Tony G’s Pizza and Bakery are among the restaurants planning to hand out food samples, Russo told West Life.
“It’ll be a great event,” he said.
West Life is a sponsor of the Fairview Park Chamber Business Showcase.