MILTON — The Santa Rosa County Chamber of Commerce presents an opportunity to connect the community with its local businesses under one roof. The Keep It Local Business Showcase takes place from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 8 at the Santa Rosa County Auditorium, 4530 Spikes Way in Milton.
The 2017 event marked the first after a five-year break, according to Executive Director Donna Tucker.
"We became location-challenged," she said. "We tried several places and couldn’t find the right spot. We put it on hold for a while."
The event took place at the Moors last year and sold out at 45 vendors.
"Despite the weather, we had a good turnout," Tucker said. "Since we sold out we decided to try it at the auditorium. We went from 45 available spaces to 70 and it sold out again."
The event is free to attend and no businesses at the event will be selling anything. However, there will be a beer and wine cash bar. Four food vendors, Tucker said, will have finger foods for attendees to sample.
"We’ve got medical, home improvement, investments, business services, education," Tucker said. "The Santa Rosa Young Entrepreneurs will have a table there. One of our new massage members will have a massage table set up."
Another potential draw for attendees are the door prizes. The Chamber requires each vendor to provide a $25 gift card.
"Some of them, the value is a lot higher than that but a minimum of $25," Tucker said. "As people are coming in, they’ll fill out a registration card, not for us to do anything with but to draw for door prizes."
Approximately one third of the vendors, Tucker said, are based in Escambia County. Despite this, the purpose of the event is to encourage people to shop locally.
"We feel like once people meet these business and organizations," Tucker said, "once you have a relationship with them, you’ll want to do business with them…or tell somebody else."