The Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce kicked off the 27th year of its Fast Track trade show with VIP night on Tuesday.
The first night was a ticketed event open to chamber members. Held at the Commonwealth Center, which is commonly referred to as the Clocktower, the event included 100 exhibitors from various sectors, including healthcare, manufacturing, and local restaurants.
Chris Lawless of Lawless Welding was happy to be back exhibiting at Fast Track this year. He attributes previous Fast Track events to helping his business to get a lot of exposure. “If you want a community presence, it’s good,” he said of participating in Fast Track. “We’ve been blessed, I’m happy to be a cornerstone in the community. We are growing more in the community, I’m just happy to be here. Every year has been great to me,” Lawless said.
Many exhibitors offered samples, goodie bags, and the opportunity to win free products through drawings and games. Kimberly Keller-Bonacci, the chamber’s Uptown Entrepreneurial Development Manager, said the response was great.
“We weren’t really sure what to expect since this is our first year back from COVID, but we think we are right there if not better than we were in previous years. We are happy with the turnout,” she said.
Martinsville has been designated as a Bee City. Representatives were onsite to educate Fast Track attendees about things they can do to encourage pollination and the importance of bees to our ecosystem.
Patty Williams and Annah Wheeler are working with the initiative to educate local residents on what it means to be a Bee City and how they can help.
“There’s been a lot of interest and people are aware that bees are declining,” Williams said.
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