Business

Businesses expose themselves at Oak Harbor Elks Lodge

Barbara Lyter of On the Surface, a home-based “fiber arts” business, demonstrates Sashiko, a 2,000-year-old form of embroidery. She will be one of many Oak Harbor merchants showing off their wares at the Spring Business Expo tomorrow.  - Justin Burnett/Whidbey News-Times
Barbara Lyter of On the Surface, a home-based “fiber arts” business, demonstrates Sashiko, a 2,000-year-old form of embroidery. She will be one of many Oak Harbor merchants showing off their wares at the Spring Business Expo tomorrow.
— image credit: Justin Burnett/Whidbey News-Times

From beautiful textiles to tasty treats by some of Whidbey Island’s best restaurants, this year’s Spring Business Expo in Oak Harbor will have it all.

Kicking off Thursday, March 31, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Elks Lodge in Oak Harbor, the fourth installment of the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce’s annual event will host about 30 individual business, according to membership and administrative coordinator Tammi Petty.

Open and free to the public, the business expo is designed to give businesses that belong to the chamber an opportunity to show their wares, network with fellow merchants, and most of all, get that little extra boost through exposure.

“It’s like a really big business-after-hours,” Petty said.

While the event is helpful for well-known businesses, they are particularly useful for merchants that don’t have dedicated storefronts.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to let the community know, ‘Hey, I’m here,’” Petty said.

Oak Harbor resident Barbara Lyter is just such a person. Lyter has been attending the business expo as a vendor since 2008, first for her graphic design and photography business and now for her new venture, On the Surface.

Lyter launched the home-based textile business in 2010 and is eager to show off some of her new creations. She’s especially excited to feature the products she makes with Sashiko, a 2,000-year-old form of embroidery.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how people react to them,” Lyter said.

As a home-based business, Lyter said the annual expo has been a consistent and reliable tool for gaining new clients and forging new contacts within the larger Oak Harbor business community.

According to Petty, this year’s business expo will be slightly smaller than the one held in 2010 with about five fewer vendors. Up until last year the event saw annual growth in both the number of vendors and public attendance with up to 300 people in 2010. The decline is likely attributed to the economy, she said.

For more information call the chamber at 675-3755.

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