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Curtains come down on Everything Vincy Expo

Curtains come down on Everything Vincy Expo
Julian Nicholls working to attract customers to “El Mundo De CoCo”

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by Katherine Renton

One hundred and forty five businesses lined the inside of the Geest shed between last Friday and yesterday, October 31 to participate in the highly anticipated Invest SVG Everything Vincy Expo.

At the opening ceremony on October 24, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Anthony Regisford stated, “It is our hope at Invest SVG that by affording them this opportunity we are able to increase their business, increase trade, help them to grow their business, and by doing so they create more employment and have a positive impact on the economy of St Vincent and the Grenadines(SVG).”

Curtains come down on Everything Vincy Expo
Jasmin Deane stands before some of her all natural, handmade products and her carefully decorated booth at “Everything Vincy” 2019

In its third year running, having grown from 40 businesses participating in the first year, the Expo, which has title sponsorship from the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), seems to be succeeding in doing this for many.

Even on the morning of the first day, customers were already beginning to flow onto the compound and Dr Tahomma Richards, working at the Eastern Caribbean Group of Companies’(ECGC) booth informed SEARCHLIGHT that many children and farmers had visited them.

Their booth, aptly described by Richards, was a “miniature ECGC”, with all the components of ECGC, including animal feeds, Ju-C, flour, and their new brand of water “Island Sipz.”

Richards explained that they had brought live rabbits and some chicks from their own hatchery. She explained that this was part of “ramping up” their display and demonstrating the quality of the feeds.

ECGC has consistently participated in the Expo since its inception in 2017, and it is a veteran, well established business. However, the Independence showcase is important to them, Richards stated.

“Yes we have our consumers, yes the customers buy from us all year round, this is just our way of giving back to the customers basically,” Richards stated, adding that they were giving away samples.

It wasn’t only ECGC that tried their best to draw the customers into their respective corners, but many others had elaborate displays of their products, from hand woven mats and bags, to spectacles, fridges, and stoves.

Another participant who flexed her creative muscles was Jasmin Deane from “Jazzy’s All Natural.” A three-year participant of the Expo herself, Deane hadn’t even fully set up her fairy lights, vines and wood themed booth, but she already had customers who purchased goods from her.

Deane explained that she had brought new products with her to “Everything Vincy” this year including the Aloe Vera Cream, and body oils and hair products and lotions that she was hoping persons would come and try.

Curtains come down on Everything Vincy Expo
Dr Tahomma Richards from ECGC at her section displaying animal feeds

“I try to participate in as much Expo as my body allows me,” Deane, who makes the products herself, commented.

“When I look back at where I started from it’s because of the exposures of the different exhibitions that I went to, and people got to know about my brand, ‘Jazzy’s All Natural,’” she said.

“Even though you get 10 extra customers, it’s 10 persons added who could buy 10 more…each person can buy 10 creams from me, 10 soaps…more customer base to my brand and it helps build my brand,” Deane explained.

Diallo Boyea, an artist and sculptor who brought “El Mundo de Coco” to the line up, stated that all he wanted was “Just a little more exposure.”
Expos like the “Everything Vincy Expo” are “very important” because “most times people don’t even know about their business, Boyea explained.

He worked specifically with coconut shells to create jewelry and trinkets, and brought some with a Vincentian theme to the Expo, including a piece where he carved out an image of National Hero Joseph Chatoyer on a necklace.

The initiative was also praised by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves who spoke at the launch of the Expo, on the progression of the Vincentian economy from one where a single agricultural crop was dominant to one that is service based.

In achieving a “modern, competitive, many-sided, post-colonial economy” the Prime Minister stated,“One institutional arrangement which was absolutely required was the establishment of Invest SVG and we see their own role in bringing investments to St Vincent and the Grenadines and I congratulate them on this exhibition.”

Executive Director of Invest SVG, Annette Mark, reported “We have experienced a noticeably greater support and growth over in comparison over the last few years, and of course we are seeing a number of products, more and more products each year.”

She stated that Invest SVG is “extremely proud of the growing success and influence of this event.”

Mark also announced Invest SVG will lead a delegation of local companies to the world Expo in Dubai in 2020. However, this Expo will be hosted for 174 days and therefore, the Executive Director said that it will be logistically impossible to hold Everything Vincy next year.

Regardless, the night markets, and the Carnival Expo are still promised to take place.