The 18th annual Showcase Business Expo welcomed vendors from all over to set up and hawk their goods over the weekend.
Spectra Place played the role of convention centre for the expo, and Michel Cyrenne, executive director for the Estevan and District Board of Tourism, Trade and Commerce, said the space is already booked for next year's Showcase. As the vendors were finishing set-up on Friday evening, he said the new facility has been very accommodating for the businesses.
"At the Lignite Miners Centre (LMC) we really only had one access point, and it was on ground level, which was nice, but here we've got multiple access points," he said. "People can come in from the front. People can come in from the north side, and we've got the big bay doors at the east end so it really went quite smoothly. I think it went a lot more smoothly than what we anticipated."
A lot of the exhibiters showed up on Thursday evening, and that helped to give people lots of time to get organized.
He noted there were concerns from some of the exhibitors with bigger equipment about getting down the ramp.
"They were concerned about getting down that big ramp at the east end, but they manoeuvred through it. That was no problem. The facility itself though; they are impressed. There's the lounge upstairs that they can hang out in. They've liked it. They like the layout."
Dennis Moore, who ran the advertising for the expo, said all the exhibitors he talked to was very happy with the way things went over the weekend and all said they would be back next year.
"It's not just about the money they make," he said. "They like it because they're treated good. We helped to get them into the building. We probably go overboard to help them."
He noted one issue they had, and will have to address for next year, was moisture coming up from the floor. The removable floor sits over top of the ice, and Moore said something will be done about the moisture for next year.
There were 88 booths sold for the show, with two businesses that hadn't shown up by Friday evening. Had they booked more exhibitors, the overflow would have been set up on the ground-level concourse and around the walking track. They did have exhibitors outside as well.
For Lester Mack, this was his first time with a booth in Estevan, a city he used to call home.
"I'm in Kindersley, but I'm originally from Estevan, so I wanted to come down and do the trade show. This is my hometown," he said.
The senior adviser for Serenigy was featuring their coffees and teas containing 100 per cent certified organic ganoderma.
"The first day was awesome. We're going to pick it up today, as there are going to be a lot more people coming through. I know we're competing with the football game, but I hear they're going to be on the screen so we'll be OK."
Mack said they go to shows all over the province and that the shows are vital to their business.
"It's a good way to get out there and expose yourself to other people and other vendors."
Ken Sapiak, of V.K. Imports in Winnipeg, said, "The amount of people you meet in one weekend to present your product to them is the best advertising available."
His company sells natural herbal and aromatherapy products and muscle and joint sprays, and while this was his first time personally set up in Estevan in 10 years, their rep out of Regina has been coming to Showcase for the last nine.
"This show does an excellent job of bringing the people in. It's a beautiful venue. A brand new facility."
He and his wife Valerie go to shows and he said it's the best exposure a business can get.
"Good response (Friday) night from the people. Because we've been here so many years, people just walk up, 'I need this, this, this.' So they actually come to the show looking for you."
"We're like a (close)-knit family. It's kind of fun when you go to the shows and see other vendors (you know)," said Mack.
He and his family do about three shows each month, attending events as far away as Alberta. Coming to Estevan is nice a change of pace because Mack, his wife and his daughter can stay with relatives for a break from hotels and camping.
Patricia Fichter and Marian Huber were manning the St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation booth on Saturday. Fichter said she was very happy with the move into Spectra Place.
"I thought it was really great. Normally in the other facility, we were not in with the major part of the vendors," she said. "It's great now that we're amongst everybody else. I think we get more traffic flow this way."
Huber said that for the foundation, Showcase is all about access to people. Huber is a spiritual care practitioner and said it's important for them to do fundraising for the foundation.
"Each of us, as a department, tend to go to the foundation when we need things ... we want to let people know we're here and try to encourage people to support St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation because without it, I know there are things I wouldn't have in my department."
Huber said part of their job is to just give out information so people are very aware of the foundation's role. Both she and Fichter were happy with the number of people they'd seen in attendance on the weekend.
Cyrenne said they've booked the LMC for next year as well. He said they would like to get more vehicles, like car dealers, RVs, dirt bikes and boats, which they would house in the LMC.
"If we can get enough interest that we could hold it in both facilities we definitely would, but if we're going with one facility (Spectra Place) is the one."
Moore said there was more work for the organizers, but they learned a lot about putting on the event in the new facility.
"We pulled it off again for No. 18," he said.