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Expo aims to boost profile of home-based businesses

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FORT FRANCES—District residents will have the chance to check out what type of home-based businesses are in the area thanks to an expo planned for Friday, Oct. 17 at the Adventure Inn here.

“I think [people] are going to be surprised at some of the businesses that are out there that they don’t know about, that they could take advantage of,” said expo committee member Tonia Dolph of Northland Kitchen & Design Consulting.

Home-based businesses in this area are selling everything from skin care to Tupperware to board games to offering driving schools, photography, providing wedding services, and much more, she noted.

“Consumers don’t always know that these things are here,” Dolph reasoned.

“It’s so diverse that there’s going to be something there that everyone is going to be interested in,” said expo committee member Brenda Elias, owner of Scrap-A-Lot near Emo.

“It seems to be kind of a trend, that there are more and more people that want to work out of their home,” said Dolph. “It’s really kind of a struggle for them to branch out and make connections and network, so we thought this would be a good opportunity for them.”

Home-based businesses often don’t have a lot of money to put towards advertising, noted Dolph. And while there are trade shows, for many it costs a lot to attend and doesn’t fit into the budget very well.

As such, the upcoming expo was made to be affordable, she added.

Part of this growing number of home-based businesses include ones focused on retail, said Elias. And with the economy the way it is, it’s hard for many businesses to have a store front, especially if they aren’t high-end or department store-like.

“A lot of the stay-at-home moms want to make extra money and so they have home-based businesses, as well,” she explained. “That way, they can stay home with the children without having to take them to a baby-sitter, or take them to a storefront with them.”

“A lot of people have a day job, or another job, but they have a home-based business, as well,” echoed Angela Halvorsen of the Rainy River Future Development Corp., who is the expo’s other organizer.

“And this will give them the opportunity to just give them some more exposure for their business.”

The idea for the expo came after Halvorsen attended last year’s FI:RE conference in Dryden and met members of the Manitoba Home Business Advisory Council.

Halvorsen ended up going go a conference in Winnipeg to learn more about the council and what it does—and came away thinking something needed to be done to identify and help out home businesses in this area.

“It’s always a question when it’s your first year of how many people will come, but I think we have a really good committee and I think we’ll fill it up,” said Halvorsen, who hopes to make the expo an annual event.

“Who knows where it might go? This is just the beginning area.”

The expo will run from noon-8 p.m. on Oct. 17, with admission being $2.

For exhibitors, tables are available for $60 and big booths for $80. They also are being asked to provide some sort of draw prize or sample.

For more information, including an exhibitor’s guide, visit www.rrfdc.ca or call 274-3276.

(Fort Frances Daily Bulletin)

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