The Grimes Chamber & Economic Development is hosting Experience Grimes: A Tasteful Business Expo on March 5 from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Event organizers hope that the event, now in its third year, will introduce citizens and businesspeople to all of the different businesses located in Grimes.
“It’s an opportunity to bring businesses and the community together and learn what’s here,” said chamber and economic development director Brian Buethe. “For a fast-growing community, people who are new to Grimes…you get busy and don’t even learn what’s around you. You’re driving to Des Moines or wherever to get things that you could be getting in your own community right here.”
Experience Grimes: A Tasteful Business Expo offers an opportunity for people to come out and see an array of businesses serving the Grimes area. There will be almost 50 businesses represented including restaurants, professional services and retail businesses. Every vendor will provide, free of charge, food and/or drink samples. In its inaugural year, the event exceeded everyone’s expectations for success.
Last year also exceeded expectations “by a mile,” organizers said. More than 900 people attended the event with 33 vendors. This year organizers expect more than 1,000 people and plan to have around 50 vendors.
For instance, last year people were introduced to Dr. Matthew Howie of Total Family Eyecare. Some people living in Grimes were unaware that there was an optometrist in town. Now they can obtain services like eye care screenings right in town instead of going elsewhere in the metro.
Buethe said it was important for the event to be held in Grimes, though that also presented a challenge as Grimes doesn’t have a large conference area or many places to put a large number of booths. Previous expos have been held at the Grimes Community Center or at the high school, but this year’s event will again be held at Performance Display Inc. The building is located at 1400 S.E. 11th Street in Grimes, just west of VisionBank.
“That’s a really big deal because it’s a donation of time and resources by that company,” said this year’s event chair Julie Downing. “One of the nicest things they do is they close down and move everything out of their warehouse so we can have this event. It’s incredible what they do to support the community with this event.”
With the success of last year’s event, vendors quickly filled the spots available, and there is again currently a waiting list for additional businesses that would like to participate. Organizers are excited about the great response, and the businesses have been, too.
“We took some samples of our food and drink with us, and the response from the community exceeded my expectations of what we might see. So we’ve been involved ever since,” says Tim Crank of Fat Boyz Saloon & Grill. “I feel it benefits us to remind people we’re there and to see new people and folks who haven’t heard about us.”
Crank says it’s a great networking event for the vendors themselves to mingle among each other as well as introduce themselves to the public.
“That is the nice thing about it,” he says. “There are people who come into my place but I don’t know their name, and this way I get to know them. Sometimes they can help us out or we can help them, like they need a catering or dinner that we can provide. It’s a great way to make connections with the other businesses in the community.”
Ryan Rivera from RE/MAX Real Estate Concepts has also been impressed by the event and its turnout.
“We participated the first and second years, and it was a wonderful turnout,” he says. “We’re chamber members, and it’s a way for us to band together to help the community and bring something new to the community. As business people, we thrive off of people providing us their business, so it’s good that we give back our time as well.”
Mike McGuigan from the Radish Catering & Dining says he got involved when the event started three years ago. He likes to support the community that supports him.
“Every single member that participates in it are customers, and I spend money with people who spend money with me,” he says. “I just canceled a service out of Indiana because there’s a local company that provides that service, so I spend money with them, and it’s a good networking thing.”
The event is family friendly and will include food and family entertainment, including music by local musician Michael Hope. Door prizes will be given away every half-hour, as well as a grand prize of a new Nook e-book reader. Everyone who attends will receive one free chance to win, and additional raffle tickets can be purchased as well. This event is free to the public, though there will an opportunity to donate to a free-will offering that will support a scholarship program for graduating Dallas Center-Grimes High School seniors.
“It’s a nice community event,” Buethe said. “It’s not a money maker for Grimes Chamber & Economic Development. It’s a service for our members so they can build relationships and people in the community can learn about the resources in Grimes. We hope to see more and more people every year.”
For information on the event, visit www.grimesiowa.com. Questions can be directed to event chair Julie Downing at 515-681-5378.