Business fair reveals what’s for sale in South Shore homes

Chester Basin Legion ladies auxiliary hosts event

One of the problems with running a business from home that’s not offered on-line is finding a customer base for your service or product. The ladies auxiliary of the Chester Basin Legion has tried to help solve this problem over the past few years by hosting a home-based business fair.

“It kind of morphed out of our Christmas craft fair,” said Jayne MacKenzie, the president of Legion Branch 88, about the event, which was held at this location for the third time on April 18. “Home-based businesses want to show at our Christmas craft fair, but the Christmas craft fair is just that – it’s for crafters. So we decided to create a spring home-based business fair for all those people that didn’t fit the criteria.”

The initial one didn’t go quite as planned. “The first one we did was a few years ago, and the biggest complaint from the public who came was that there was nothing to buy. It was just businesses showcasing what they had to offer,” said Ms MacKenzie, who revived the event a few years later with more success. This led her to start hosting it as an annual event. “Once the word gets out that we’re going to do this each year, we’re going to improve.”

Participants in the event have to be home-based businesses without a storefront. They also must have something for sale at their table or give a free product or service away in a draw. Only one type of each business is allowed to be showcased.

This year, the fair had 22 participants. Tables were $10 to rent or $15 with electricity. “Just enough to cover our heat and lights,” said Natalie Forsyth, the president of the auxiliary. “I just hope they have a lot of people come through and that it’s a success for them.”

Popular home-based businesses such as Arbonne, Tupperware and Mary Kay were represented along with products and services such as massages, steeped tea, apparel, homemade soap and photography. Also included were a ventilation company, a rebate program and a paranormal romantic novel series.

“This is my second business fair here and I did get clients from the last one,” said Susan Duncan, a retired nurse who now runs Cabin Escape Wellness Coaching, a business that involves therapeutic touch. “There were a lot of people. The numbers seem to be down a bit this year, but that’s why I came back. Last year it was great.”

Tanya Hickey, who runs PepperPot Photography, also benefited from last year’s fair. “It’s a two-fold thing. It’s getting your name out there. … I can come to a home-based business fair and have 100 people come by and take my cards. The word of mouth was invaluable,” she said. “I think we need to have more of these small business fairs, because there’s a lot of valuable home-based businesss out there that people aren’t aware of. I think it’s a great way to be able to make people aware of them.”

As originally published in LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

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