Annual Chamber Business Expo looking strong for Friday |

Annual Chamber Business Expo looking strong for Friday

Sara Thompson / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Despite the economy, the Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce Business Expo received a strong response from businesses.

“We met our goal for vendors,” said Isabella Mill, LTSSCC event coordinator. “Even in a down economy, there will be a lot of participants, attendees and exhibitors.”

More than 75 business will participate from 4 to 8 p.m in Friday’s event at MontBleu Convention Center. Some companies are splitting expo costs and sharing booths so they can attend, said Tina Bruess, LTSSCC director of member services.

The expo’s theme is sustainability, Mill said. Not only is it important for people to have green practices, it’s also important for them to have a solid business foundation, she added.

For a business to be sustainable in the economic sense, it needs to have a consistent customer following and can’t be completely dependent on tourism, Mill said. That way they can sustain themselves during fluctuations in the economy.

Mill said the expo is a great way to learn about all the services available on the South Shore.

“The area has a lot of small, independent business and people can come see how many resources are actually here,” Mill said.

People looking to network with others in the area are encouraged to attend, Bruess said. Because many businesses are participating, and the event draws a crowd, the expo provides an opportunity for people to make hundreds of contacts, Bruess said.

Not all participants are retail oriented, Bruess said. The expo is diverse, and has 10 different nonprofits participating in the Community Circle, such as Tahoe Youth and Family Services and CALSTAR.

A silent auction will feature items such as 2010 ski passes for Sierra-At-Tahoe and Heavenly Mountain Resort, $500 advertising packages and an autographed snowboard from Jamie Anderson.

The chamber’s Green Business Cooperative also will be unveiled at the expo to coincide with the sustainability theme, said Kirstin Cattell, LTSSCC Environmental Task Force chair.

The cooperative provides interested businesses a venue to talk to each other about green practices, and look at what first steps they can take to become green.

“We’re trying to offer a way for businesses to get started,” Cattell said. “You have to start somewhere.”

The cooperative is not a certification program, Cattell said. Instead, it encourages business owners to begin making green changes they can afford.

“We don’t want to alienate people who want to become green,” Cattell said.

As long as a business makes legitimate efforts, and intends to improve its green practices, it can be a part of the cooperative.

“We need to educate ourselves, but we also need to act on it too,” Cattell said. “If we wait, we’re never going to do it.”

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