The Multiplex will host over 185 exhibitors this weekend for the 2019 Yellowknife Spring Trade Show.

Tiffany Thiem-Pennell, left, chats with Al Matesic at the Good Times Soap Company booth at the trade show in 2017. Business owner Karen Wood can be seen chatting with a visitor in the background. The 2019 trade show begins tomorrow at the Multiplex, starting at 10 a.m. NNSL file photo

With last year’s event drawing an estimated 8,000 visitors, the show promises to allow local businesses to develop new sales leads, close big deals and deal directly with others in their industries.

The event is one of the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce’s key revenue generators. This weekend’s show sold out a month earlier than previous years, said Deneen Everett, executive director of the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce.

“I like to think it has to do with the excitement we’ve been building,” she said. “And also because of our marketing strategy and making those personal connections with a lot of our vendors.”

“We’re the only people in town who do something quite like the spring trade show.”

She told Yellowknifer it takes the better part of five months to organize the event, with preparations beginning as registration opens in January. Around that period, vendors from the last show can reserve their spaces. After that deadline closes, the general public can join the process.

On top of games and prizes, visitors can expect businesses, non-profits and government departments promoting their products and services. Everett estimates 80 per cent of the exhibitors are from Yellowknife or based in the Northwest Territories

“People love the trade show,” she said. “Coming out to it is a great family event and it’s a lot of fun. There are shopping opportunities (to support) not only local businesses but also maybe to get some products … that you can’t typically get in Yellowknife.”

This year’s entertainment will include a boat and motorcycle show. Another highlight of the event is the passport program, where visitors who acquire a stamp from all 15 participating booths are entered to win a round-trip flight from Yellowknife to Edmonton, among other prizes.

In the meantime, Everett is looking forward to the line-up at the door on Saturday that will mark the culmination of months of work.

“It’s just very fulfilling to see,” she said.

She said her team tries to add something new every year that visitors can get excited about. On Saturday night, there will be a social where participants have a chance to share feedback and ideas to improve future shows.

That communication can be vital. After membership fees, the trade show is the next highest source of revenue for the chamber of commerce.

Tickets cost $5 per person and $20 per family. Children under three enjoy free admission. While parking around the Multiplex is limited, the city will be providing free public transit. The trade show is also going green this year with a recycling program and compost in the food court.

“We took advantage of every square foot of that floor and really made it so we’re taking advantage of that space and getting as many people in as possible,” said Everett.

Nick Pearce

Nick Pearce is a writer and reporter in Yellowknife, looking for unique stories on the environment and people that make up the North. He's a graduate of Queen's University, where he studied Global Development...

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