Businesses laud networking, exposure opportunities of Everything Vincy Expo
The second ever ‘Everything Vincy Expo’ came to an end last Sunday, and a number of businesses have stated that the experience will see them readily returning to the next expo.
As the InvestSVG ‘Everything Vincy Plus Expo 2018’ progressed last week, many persons from the public traipsed the paths of the Geest shed with curious minds, viewing the variety of local businesses on display.
Last Friday, SEARCHLIGHT visited the Expo as well, to find out how the experience was panning out from the perspective of the over 100 businesses that took part.
Many of the businesses were yet relatively new to the market, and were hoping the expo would increase visibility.
One such business was the “The Little Nut Farm,” that bottles coconut water every day, and sells three sizes, a two litre bottle, a 500 ml and a 250 ml, designed for school children and toddlers. “The Little Nut Farm” also sells coconut jelly, shredded coconut and coconut oil.
Employee of the coconut focused business founded by Alpheus Nanton of Georgetown, Nekedra Caine revealed, “We want to get our name out there on the tongues of Vincentians, you know…So once they come and they try our product, you could tell a friend, and their friend will tell a friend, and then Bam! Little Nut Farm.”
For the “Little Nut Farm,” who made a few sales of ice cold bottles of coconut water during the interview, the response has been positive, Caine disclosing, “We’ve been having a lot of positive feedback, a lot of persons enjoy our coconut water because it’s 100 percent pure.”
For some, it was their very first expo ever as a business. Jerry Simpson, Founder and Director of “Grenadine Sea Salt” describing the new experience, saying, “It’s been fun, it’s been so much fun for us, we get to see people face to face, we get to see, talk with people.”
Simpson described the hosts of the Expo, InvestSVG, as ‘rockstars,’ and commented, “We’re making a lot of introductions here at the expo, we’re meeting a lot of great people,” the founder stated, saying that they were educating a lot of people about sea salt.
He explained, “They come by with ice-cream cones, and we say, try a little rum salt on your ice-cream, or cinnamon-nutmeg…and they’re like what?!, and then they taste it, and then they’re “Woah, this is great.” So yeah, it’s an education process but it’s a good one, and we’re very excited about what we’re doing “
The Grenadine Sea Salt is a Bequia based business which makes many different flavours of salt, named after the Grenadine Islands, from the sea water in Bequia. So far the flavours that have been developed, apart from the original, are, “a coconut blend, a dark rum blend, a cinnamon-nutmeg blend, a mango and lime, and a turmeric chili.”
As for its method of use, the founder describes, “you cook your food without any salt, and then when you put it on your plate, and you’re about to eat, and you sprinkle some of the salt on it, you only need like three or four grains per bite.”
For many of the businesses, another valuable quality of the expo has been the exchange of learning that is possible.
Head chocolatier of the St Vincent Chocolate Company, Nikita Bynoe, “people who came here, they learnt a thing or two about chocolate, how it’s made, and I do get to hear a lot of stories about the cocoa, and eating the cocoa beans or sucking the cocoa beans. So I get to learn a lot from people, the old way of making chocolate, and they get to learn from me the new way.”
The Cocoa company, only two years old but already having made a name for itself, was displaying their bars, the 72% dark chocolate, and the milk chocolate. The brand has also released special edition chocolate in the past, and intends to release three new flavours this December.
Added to the list of businesses that hoped to increase awareness, was the local flavor infused rum “Qura Qu J Flavoured Rums,” envisioned by Michker Edwards. Edwards stated that she had thought of the flavoured rums when she was doing a project to make a rum cake with a local ingredients, but there were no local flavoured rums.
At Edwards’ booth, persons were able to sample the 10 rums, including the originals coconut and passionfruit.
The creator says that she has received useful feedback, explaining, “They didn’t expect it to be so strong, so I keep reminding them it’s not wine, it’s rum, and they were kinda curious how I get the flavours infused into the rum, but that’s a secret,” she said as she laughed.
Aside from businesses, also exhibiting his paintings, was artist, Gary Peters, who was displaying the “The Vincy Life Series,” which, “It’s really meant to show our heritage as Vincentians, and what the pieces speak to is Vincentians in every day activity.”
The artist opined that InvestSVG had done a “fantastic job,” and that, “the enthusiasm that I find people are actually embracing the whole activity which is, for me it is so lifting as an artist.”
He continued, “For me it is not so much only about just the sales, because the interaction, the networking. I’ve gotten response from all exhibitors.”
Melissa Patterson of Abb and Ann’s Creation, a business named after her children, who makes paper and fabric jewelry, and Christal Oliver of Olive Art Designs, which produces a series of handbags of different sizes, both described the expo as being busy for them, said and that they were getting a lot of traffic.
Everyone that SEARCHLIGHT spoke to answered that they would “Absolutely,” “Definitely” or “Most Definitely” participate in the next expo, whenever InvestSVG decides to host one.