Area entrepreneurs get word out at UP/Fircrest Business Fair

Seeking to make new contacts and take advantage of networking opportunities, South Sound entrepreneurs and others from 34 organizations turned out for this year’s University Place/Fircrest Business Fair.

The annual event, presented by the University Place/Fircrest division of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, was held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., on Thursday, June 5, at Pierce County’s new Environmental Services Building in University Place.

The business fair featured a mix of business and commercial booths and non-profit booths.

Leslie Englund, director of sales for Snuffin’s, a Gig Harbor catering company, was attending her first University Place/Fircrest Business Fair, and described it as a valuable experience.

In addition to information about Snuffin’s, she offered those who passed by or visited her booth a glass of lemonade, quite appealing given the 90-degree-plus temperatures outside.

“The majority of people networking are vendors. I’ve had a lot of people stop by,” she said.

“Of course, I do have the lemonade,” she quipped.

“Our primary goal is to get to know people better here in this area,” she said, explaining that Snuffin’s serves the greater Tacoma area and beyond “…as far north as north of Seattle and as far south as Olympia and Puyallup.”

“We want to be on the preferred list of caterers in the area,” Englund said. “There are big potential markets that have never heard of us.”

And expanding businesses is what event organizers want.

“It helps people to get out of their offices and out of their chairs and get out in the real world,” said Patricia Angel, a membership services representative for the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber.

Paul Ellis, director of metropolitan development for the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, said he was happy with this year’s seventh annual business fair, which was free and open to the public.

In addition to the business opportunities, the sunny weather afforded attendees who strolled out the building’s open-air rear section with a spectacular downward-looking view of the Chambers Creek Properties, a 930-acre site containing two gravel mines, several miles of Puget Sound shoreline and a 3-mile long forested ravine along Chambers Creek.

Plans for the site include a golf course, ball fields, walking paths, a restaurant and an environmental education center.

The Environmental Services Building itself was also the focus of some attention. The building houses staff for Pierce County’s Water Programs, Solid Waste and Sewer Utility.

It contains educational displays and a large public meeting facility that is available for rent.

The structure itself is a “green building,” emphasizing environ-mental concerns. Wherever possible, recycled materials were used, and the building’s design allows for greater use of natural light and natural air circulation, both of which provide energy savings.

Sponsors of the 2003 University Place/Fircrest Business Fair include Financial Network; Floor Covering, Inc.; Gordon, Thomas, Honeywell, Malanca, Peterson & Daheim; ABC Children’s Center; Johnson, Stone & Pagano and Chambers Creek Properties.