The St. Croix Central Elementary gymnasium was filled with potential customers for the many local companies and businesses who attended the third annual Showcase Roberts on Saturday, Oct. 5. The event gave vendors a chance to meet the people of the community face-to-face and get their names out there in the hopes of gaining new long-term customers.
“A lot of people don’t know where Main Street is or what it is,” said Liz Kamm, owner of the Carbone’s Pizzeria of Roberts. “They also don’t know what things we have to offer here in our community. Our community is growing so we want to make sure that [people] know we are in town and available for their pizza needs.”
Event coordinator and owner of ASIL Design, Lisa Christensen felt that the event went very smoothly and that both the vendors and the visitors to the event enjoyed the experience.
“I think it went very well and there was a lot of energy from the people who were coming out of the gym when they were done seeing everything,” Christensen said. “I got positive responses from the vendors and I feel like there were more people at this year’s event than we have had before.”
For AKF Martial Arts Academy, out of New Richmond and River Falls, the showcase was a chance to meet potential students face-to-face which is important for making a connection with the community.
“For our type of business, these events let us meet the members of the community, and we like to have that personal interaction,” said Beverly Hanson, co-owner of the New Richmond academy. “We have found it to be the best way for us to build our own business.”
AKF Martial Arts Academy teaches the art of Kyuki-Do which combines the strikes of Tae Kwon Do, the throwing and grappling techniques of Judo and juijitsu, the joint locks of Hapki-Do, and the practice of kobudo (traditional weapons) into one art. Since their product does not translate well to online buyers, showcases like the one in Roberts on Saturday are the one of the main ways for the academy to meet new students.
“In our business, interpersonal communication is important, and without actually meeting people it is hard to make that connection,” Calla Harter, an instructor at the River Falls academy, said. “We have to get creative in marketing our business, because it isn’t like we have a product you can order online.”
For Linda Bazille, who sells Celebrating Home products, showcases have yielded at least a few new customers every time she sets up a booth.
“I like to sell locally and get out to show people what I have to sell,” Bazille said. “These events are an excellent way to bring in my fare and talk to everyone who comes into my booth. I’ve done many of these events before and I’ve seen the kind of positive results they can bring. Usually every show we have one or two bookings for a party and my numbers pick up after every one of these shows.”
Showcase Roberts also featured a booth for the Baldwin Medical Center, which offered free health screenings at the event as part of its “B_Well Initiative” as well as free vaccinations.
“It is a way for us to get the word out to the community and preach the ways to be healthy and learn about our business as well,” Amanda Gustafson, Marketing Director at Baldwin Area Medical Center said. “These events are another way for us to get our name out in the community and meet new people.”