It was an event that was smaller than in previous years, but the Okotoks and District Chamber of Commerce’s most recent trade show may have been its most important in history.
It was a clear indication of what it means for a business to ‘pivot’ in these changing times of the COVID-19 pandemic. The chamber pivoted like LeBron James looking for an open man while being guarded — with precision and calmness.
The trade show was originally planned for the spring, but like virtually everything since March 12, it was cancelled due to COVID-19.
The traditional show typically, has hundreds of booths indoors at the Okotoks Recreation Centre, this one there were 70 vendors and it was outdoors to ensure COVID-19 protocols were being followed.
While the trade show was a demonstration of how the chamber can help guide businesses in the community, it was an important message being sent out by the business community.
The 70 vendors spoke as one — ‘Hey COVID is here, we’re not going anywhere and this is what we have to offer.”
There is no doubt that each of those businesses have had to pivot in the last six months to keep themselves as viable as possible.
Fortunately, there were approximately 1,000 patrons taking in the trade show to see what the vendors have to offer in this thriving community.
The trade show was a much-needed boost, not for the economy per se, but for the confidence of the business community in the future.
The chamber isn’t done yet.
It is gearing up for Small Business Week near the end of October. The chamber is collecting stories on how its members have pivoted to maintain during COVID-19.
The recent chamber’s trade show may have a spot in those stories.