Aboriginal businesses present themselves
By Janice Alpine
The 2011 Aboriginal Business was a huge hit. KABDA received positive feedback from the visitors and from the participating venues. There were a total 27 Aboriginal businesses from around the region that participated this year, including Aboriginal businesses, entrepreneurs and artisans.
Over 250 people dropped in to check out the Showcase. Some testimonials: “Loved it, it was great!” “Excellent, entertainment was great; on site radio was beneficial; foot traffic good.” ‘’Excellent! Well organized, yet flexible. Generous support and spirit of gathering and sharing!” “Loved it!”
To kick off the event, St. Mary’s councillor Joe Pierre and Cranbrook acting mayor Denise Pallesen offered a few words of encouragement to the vendors. The Drive 102 FM was on location and provided all vendors with free on air promotion. Door prizes were drawn every hour.
Thanks go out to the local Cranbrook businesses as well as to the participating vendors for their support in providing the event with great door prizes. The hockey stick signed by the Kootenay Ice team was drawn but was donated back to KABDA. Keep posted on what will be decided on its fate.
The entertainment was for the vendors and it gave a flavor of local Aboriginal talent and culture. The line-up included Joe Pierre a well known story teller who told the Ktunaxa Creation legend, Shuswap Dancers from Invermere offered a bit of contemporary style powwow dance, The Amazing Jeremy an established magician, of Invermere, and the Li Jigeurs Mechif Dancers from Golden.
For many of the participating vendors this was their first showcase. There were a few new businesses who felt it was great timing because they had just recently opened for business and were glad to be a part of this event. The purpose of the Showcase was to promote and celebrate Aboriginal businesses and entrepreneurs in the Kootenay region as well as facilitate networking among the businesses.
The participating businesses were pleased with the set up and the opportunity to participate as well as with the many events happening within the Showcase. One such event inside the event what opportunity to provide a demonstration to the public and the other businesses, a chance to be in the spotlight for a few minutes which lead to networking with businesses and customers.
KABDA recruited students to help the businesses in any way they could; such as watching a table when the business owner needed a break, help set-up and dissemble the venues. One vendor mentioned that ‘the volunteers were worth their weight in gold.’ Good work goes out to Justin Benedetti, Kelly Scout and Gail Guilbault for their hard work.
Interim manager Patti Phillips, youth business coach Kayla Boyd and receptionist Garna Feregotto were all on hand on both days of the event to offer support to the businesses.
And the popcorn was a huge hit as well.