Pictured above are several members of the Jay County Chamber of Commerce&rsquo;s 2012 Business Expo and Home Show committee. Pictured from left are Mark Valentine, Missy Schrock, April Wallischeck, Vicki Tague and John Boggs. The expo is scheduled for Saturday, April 14. (Photo provided)<br />
Pictured above are several members of the Jay County Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 Business Expo and Home Show committee. Pictured from left are Mark Valentine, Missy Schrock, April Wallischeck, Vicki Tague and John Boggs. The expo is scheduled for Saturday, April 14. (Photo provided)
Whether the weather is good or bad (and it could be either in mid-April in Indiana), a trip to the Jay County Business Expo and Home Show will get you out of the house and up to date on the retail and business opportunities available in the county.
There are a few changes in store this year at the expo, which is held every other year — including a one-day format and a breakfast for members of the public.
An estimated 75 to 100 exhibitors, comprised of chamber members from in and outside Jay County and other non-chamber businesses from in the county, will have displays on exhibit Saturday, April 14, in the auxiliary gym at Jay County High School.
Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We’re interested in letting our … retail market area know … the businesses and services the Jay County area has to offer,” says Vicki Tague, executive director of the Jay County Chamber of Commerce.
A chamber-sponsored expo has been in existence in Jay County since the Portland Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its first event in 1994.
The Portland chamber held expos for three consecutive years, then went to a bi-annual schedule that has continued under the countywide chamber that was created in the mid-2000s.
 April Wallischeck, who is chairing the chamber’s expo committee for the third consecutive event, is sharing those duties this year with Ron Laux.
Wallischeck says that the committee, responding to what exhibitors were time constraint issues, decided to hold the event all in one day instead of spreading it over two.
An average of 3,000 people have walked through the expo over the past few times it has been held, and organizers are hoping to come close to that figure again.
“It’s a time issue, so we thought we’d try it on a one-time basis,” says Wallischeck, who said that members of the committee have been working on marketing, selling booth space to exhibitors and other organizational details for the past seven to eight months.
“There’s a lot of committee members that it takes to make this happen,” she says.
Both Wallischeck and Tague are hoping that the unseasonably warm weather in March will inspire local residents to think about improving the inside or outside of their homes.
Businesses providing lawn care, landscaping, floral nurseries and interior décor assistance will be among the exhibitors.
A lineup of entertainment will be provided, including the Jay County High School robotics team; animals from the Jay County Humane Society; the JCHS Jazz Band; juggler “Crazy” Craig Muhlenkamp; and a charity pie-in-the-face event sponsored by the Portland Rotary Club.
Doors will open for breakfast in the JCHS commons at 7 a.m., with the expo opening at 9 a.m. Local not-for-profit groups will be selling a variety of food items in a “café” throughout the day.
“The chamber is really proud to sponsor this event,” Tague says.
“We think it’s important to showcase the businesses … and we hope the public will support the local business community.”