Part trade show, part evening social, part performance; the eighth-annual Small Business Showcase filled the hall at a new location.
The March 3 Chamber of Commerce event drew 40 vendors to the Hood River Armory.
The armory is a larger space than the previous Showcase home, the Hood River Adult Center, and it gave the event something it never had before: a stage.
Chamber officials and members drew business cards for an array of prizes, and the stage gave the merchants an elevated platform to tell attendees about their businesses. It also provided a platform for Jacque and Jacy Johnston of Little Athletes Fitness Fun to demonstrate gymnastics moves.
"This is an excellent event, and a great new location," said Judy Kennedy of Pacific Northwest Federal Credit Union.
"It shows community support," she said. "This is about doing business locally. We all want to do what we can to keep money in the community."
The $75 fee for a table is a bargain considering the opportunity meet several hundred people in one evening, according to Kennedy.
Kerry Cobb, chamber executive director, said the Showcase is one of several new and repeating chamber events designed to get people together and learn about who does what in the community.
"All of this is intended to get people together and see how they fit with one another," Cobb said.
Other events include a monthly luncheon starting next month, and the year-old Governmental Affairs Breakfast (see story, this page), and the monthly Business After Hours and Coffee Clatter programs.
The chamber is now up to 425 members, compared to 325 a year ago, an increase of 40 in the past two months.