Friday, May 11, 2012

TOP STORY >> Business expo set Thursday

Leader staff writer

A thousand dollars to spend in Jacksonville is the top prize at this year’s Jacksonville Business Expo, but all visitors to the Thursday event will walk away winners just by trying the food.

The reopened Yarnell’s will showcase its classic ice cream flavors. Mr. Joe, the local hot dog vendor will be there, along with mainstays Western Sizzlin’ and the BBQ Shack.

The theme for this year’s show is “Think Local: Eat, Play, Shop, Buy — Choose Jacksonville,” and will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday.

The Jacksonville Business Expo’s admission and parking are free, and “Expo Bucks” can be purchased to be exchanged for food or placed into a drawing for a grand prize.

Matt Robinson, chairman of this year’s event is excited about the $1,000 giveaway. “It’s a variety of gift certificates to Jacksonville businesses. I think whoever wins it will have a great time shopping in Jacksonville.”

In past years, more than 2,000 people attended the expo to visit the 70-plus business and food booths.

“It’s our chance to showcase the city of Jacksonville, our businesses and chamber members,” said Amy Mattison, the chamber’s chief executive officer.

Besides local food vendors, booths include a mix of longtime Jacksonville businesses, city, state and federal agencies, many up-and-coming businesses, schools and political candidates vying for votes.

Gold sponsors for the annual event include The Leader, Arkansas Federal Credit Union, Pulaski Technical College, First Arkansas Bank and Trust, Gwatney Chevrolet, COOL 104.7 and the Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department.

Some booths are still available, but space is filling up quickly. For more information, call Mattison at 501-982-1511 or Robinson at 501-982-9421.