Business

HomeStreet Bank's small business expo goes on in spite of rain

From left, Everett resident Scott Freeman speaks with Samm Parnell of the Sun Factory at the Sept. 10 small business expo hosted by HomeStreet Bank
From left, Everett resident Scott Freeman speaks with Samm Parnell of the Sun Factory at the Sept. 10 small business expo hosted by HomeStreet Bank's Marysville branch.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Bad weather might have driven the event indoors halfway through its four-hour running time, but HomeStreet Bank's Marysville branch kept its first small business fair going Sept. 10.

More than a dozen small businesses took advantage of tables supplied by HomeStreet Bank in its parking lot at 11 a.m. until about 1 p.m., at which time the day's intermittent rainfall finally forced them to move their tables inside the bank building itself. Marilyn Boe, manager of HomeStreet Bank's Marysville branch, hopes to turn the event into an annual tradition and to attract as many as 25 businesses next year.

"It's just a small way to help out local businesses," said Boe, who invited Marysville-area businesses to participate at no cost. "We're all in this together. Everyone I approached was excited by the idea. Nobody declined my invitation."

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring visited the expo and agreed with Boe that such events are especially valuable to small businesses for whom advertising can be disproportionately expensive.

"Kudos to Marilyn and HomeStreet Bank for stepping up and filling that gap," Nehring said. "Anything we can do to help small businesses is positive, and this certainly can't hurt."

Nehring admitted that chatting with business owners and employees at the various tables had opened his eyes to some of thing they offer, such as the Hawaii and Alaska travel packages available from Rika Vandayani of Marysville Travel and Cruise, as well as the curry chicken that the Boondockers Restaurant has on its menu.

"I've been to Boondockers all these times and never tried their curry chicken," Nehring said, as he tasted some free samples at the expo. "A lot of people don't know all the things they can get right here in Marysville."

"This is a good opportunity for local businesses to let people know what we have," Boondockers owner Shabbir Bala said.

Samm Parnell of the Sun Factory banks with HomeStreet in Marysville, so she was happy to take part in its expo.

"We're supporting HomeStreet Bank and our own name at the same time," Parnell said. "As local small businesses, we all have the same goals."

Scott Freshman lives in Everett but read about the expo in The Marysville Globe. Although his schedule prevented him from reserving a table for his own business, he was still able to visit the expo.

"For its first year, it's very promising," Freshman said, before laughing, "The weather sucks, but the people are really nice. It's got good variety. It's not just one of those fairs where it's all roofers and window vendors."

"I can't guarantee the weather," Boe laughed. "We can learn more each time we do this. We're giving businesses an opportunity to promote themselves to customers they might never have met."

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