By Brandon Martin
Small businesses have the opportunity to make a splash at Fast Track 2020 being held at the Patriot Centre Industrial Park from Mar. 3-4.
The event, hosted by the Martinsville-Henry County (MHC) Chamber of Commerce, is themed “Best of the Decade, 2010 – 2019.”
This year also marks the first time the showcase is held at the new location, which will allow for more than 120 exhibitor spaces. The new building, located at 901 Hollie Drive, was the former Compton Wood Products facility.
“We are excited about the new location,” said Sarah Shepherd, deputy director at the chamber. “As hard as it was to find a place with the right amount of space, I look at it as a good thing because it means all these big buildings are being used by our businesses.”
This marks the 26th year that the chamber has held the event and Shepherd said it is “seen as the region’s premiere trade show” with businesses from nearby localities like Roanoke, Danville and Eden, N.C., participating as well.
“The best part, for me, is seeing all the businesses and services in the area. There are so many opportunities for people to find what they need here,” Shepherd said. “Legal help, electricians … there’s such a wide array for vendors.”
On the first night, businesses will have the opportunity to interact with each other during the VIP Business Night. Opening night hours are 4 to 8 p.m., and the event is by invitation only.
The second night is open to the public, with hours from 4 to 7 p.m. Attendees have the opportunity to interact with the businesses directly.
Admission for the second night is either $2 or two nonperishable food items. Children six and under are free. Grace Network will be this year’s recipient of canned foods.
The event helps the chamber show the growth of industry in the surrounding areas, according to Shepherd, who added attendance at the show normally averages about 5,000 people between the two nights, with the number varying in terms of popularity for each night.
“We often hear there’s nothing here. We have so much though,” she said. “Whether you come out to the event or just drive around town or the industrial park, you’ll see how well we are actually doing. We hope folks will come out and see everything we have to offer and just connect with the rest of the community.”