Business Resource Fair coming

By ED MERRIMAN Baker City Herald April 12, 2010 02:00 pm
Second-annual free event scheduled for April 23-24 at the Baker City Armory

The second-annual Business Resource Fair is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 23-24, at the Oregon National Guard Armory in Baker City.

The free event starts Friday with a tour of all 16 lodging businesses within the Baker City limits. The tour, organized by the Baker County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, leaves from the armory, 1640 Campbell St., at 1 p.m. and returns at 5 p.m.

“Business owners of other lodging entities, restaurants, gift and clothing shops, service stations and tourist attractions can train their employees to be our visitors’ No. 1 information source, keeping visitors busy shopping and touring and encouraging them to stay another day,” said Ann Mehaffy, program director for the Historic Baker City Inc., which is one of the sponsors for the Resource Fair.

After the lodging tour there will be hors d’oeuvres, networking and informational booths at the armory from 5:30 to 7 p.m, followed by keynote speaker Maurizio Valerio, community development coordinator for Rural Development Initiatives.

Valerio’s topic is the Cittaslow philosophy, which embraces diversity rather than standardization while encouraging local culture, traditions and sustainable environmental practices.

Healthy living through education is impressed on young people and upheld at every age, and residents of Cittaslow towns work together on community decision-making, promoting local markets and events, education, local heritage, controlled growth planning, and a cooperative spirit where the community and City Council work together.

Cittaslow towns are located all over Europe, as well as in Asia and Australia.

Only one community in the United States is registered as an authentic Cittaslow community — Sonoma Valley, Calif.

Saturday’s agenda includes the bulk of Resource Fair workshops to educate, inform, and support local business owners on the latest technology, resources and programs available in Baker County.

The Saturday agenda begins with an ice breaker by Lori McNeil, facility monitor, followed by breakfast served from 8 a.m to 9 a.m., sponsored by Baker County Pest Control.

 Saturday morning workshop and educational sessions lasting 30 minutes each are scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon, with breaks every half hour.

Following lunch from noon to 1 p.m., the sessions resume from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with sessions lasting one hour each, with a half-hour break from 2 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

At each half hour during the morning and each hour in the afternoon, participants will have choices between two workshop sessions dealing with a variety of business topics, ranging from business resources available locally to use of social networking sites like Facebook to market products and services, the relationship between marketing and promotion, heritage tourism, the customer experience, business to business networking, shop local campaigns, merchandising and storefronts, conserving energy and green business practices.

The final wrap-up session at 4 p.m. calls for collaborating, communicating and connecting about “What is Baker City/Baker County’s authenticity?”

The Business Resource Fair is sponsored and organized by the Baker Economic Resource Alliance, Baker County Chamber of Commerce, Baker County Marketing, Baker County Economic Development and Historic Baker City Inc.