BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — An expo was held in Bakersfield Tuesday, bringing together and promoting small businesses in Kern County.
The 2019 Business Expo took place at the DoubleTree Hotel, and was organized by the Greater Bakersfield Chamber. Over 100 businesses, and hundreds of attendees turned out to the expo, and event coordinators said their goal was to better the community and support local business.
"What you see going on here is really a personification of business. People are figuring out other people's services, buying products, figuring out ways to do business together," said Nick Ortiz, the President and CEO of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber.
Ortiz says all of Tuesday's vendors are focused on two things: getting more exposure and networking with their peers.
"It's one of the events that I think our small businesses especially look forward to every year," Ortiz said.
Sarah land is the manager of Kern Valley Printing, which has been owned an operated locally for over 30 years. She says the event benefits their operation directly.
"It gives other companies a chance to see who we are and what we offer to them. We're here to help our friends out, our local companies out, our local neighbors out," she said.
And those connections go further than just business. Some at the expo looked to make a difference in the community. Joshua Dhanens is the Director of the Kern County Veterans Service Department and was out looking for businesses that would hire veterans.
"We're having a lot of luck, a lot of folks didn't know about us which is great. A lot of interest and employers looking to partner with us to start looking to get some of our veterans hired," Dhanens said.
"I love hearing after this event 'hey I got this contract' or 'hey I got this deal' because of it," Oritz said.
Ortiz says the expo has been happening annually for nearly 25 years. For people like Land, the event's opportunities keep their business coming back.
"The more local business, the better. The more we flourish, the more our community flourishes, the more we all flourish and see our hometown grow," she said.
The Greater Bakersfield Chamber says they've recently seen a substantial sales tax growth in the city. They believe that means there's a lot of confidence in the local economy and small businesses.