The Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce is gearing up to host their 2022 Trade Show. Due to cancellations and restrictions caused by the pandemic, this will be the first trade show held in-person since 2019 and the Chamber is looking forward to shining a light on Lacombe’s local businesses. Now, Executive Director of the Chamber, Jeffrey Hangar says there is a strong desire for business and the community get together. 

“From what I gather everyone really looking forward to getting out. The event that we held in February that was a lot large part of the feedback was that just getting out and meeting people was great. It was wonderful and this trade show is going to be exactly the same just at a much bigger scale,” said Hangar. 

The Chamber is planning for there to be 115-125 booths at the Trade Show and about 80 stores at the show’s marketplace. The booths are about 85 per cent sold out so there is still some time for local businesses to sign up for one which will be available until they sell out. 

Animal rescues to bring pets for adoption

This year, the Chamber has added in some new elements to the show including pets!

“We have the pet adoption event with some great partners. We've got Paws and Claws, Old MacDonald, and Saving Grace Animal Society we’re hoping they bring some animals and they’ve all been invited to bring some animals. We know some will be up for adoption on both days,” explained Hangar. 

Animal rescues are seeing increased numbers in their shelters due to the influx of families that adopted animals over the pandemic. 

“What happened is people got a pet during COVID and then you know when it was over, they didn't have the time to actually take care of that pet,” added Helen Peck, Sales and Promotions for the Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce. 

However, families are welcome to attend the event just to see and cuddle the pets as well. 

Bringing together employees and employers

Additionally, the tradeshow will not only be a great opportunity to scope out businesses but also a great place to find potential employment or information about employment. 

“We're going to have a small program where we can actually get some job boards going up so that people can advertise the positions that they have available. We're working with a whole group of partners, mostly non-profit partners, so that we can help people with the skills and the training that they need and move them into those positions,” said Hangar. 

“It's a great way to put businesses and the public together. They're looking for somebody to hire and people are looking for jobs. So, it's a great opportunity to get those two groups together,” added Peck. 

Hangar says one of the things employees are looking for the most is flexibility which not always something every business can offer. He says there is also a skills shortage making it difficult for businesses to hire employees. 

“The colleges know that they need to be putting on courses that meet industry needs. So, having that constant conversation with industry [is important].  It’s never going to be static anymore. So,  just maintaining that conversation and being fluid in the in the way that people get their skills, their training and their qualifications is critical. It is one of the barriers to growth that we have in our area,” said Hangar. 

The tradeshow does charge $1.00 for admission but all proceeds go to the Chamber’s scholarship fund. The tradeshow will be held on Friday, April 22nd from 2:00PM to 8:00PM  and Saturday, April 23rd from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Gary Moe Autogroup Sportsplex.