By Mike Anderson

After a five-year hiatus, the Discover Georgina Show took Keswick by storm last weekend.

The popular home and lifestyle show, run by the Georgina Chamber of Commerce, opened on the blue pad at the Georgina Ice Palace.

It featured more than 70 exhibitors, a fashion show, kids’ activities, and numerous seminars and product demonstrations, attracting thousands of attendees on Saturday and Sunday.

This time, the Chamber waived the entrance fee. Instead, attendees were asked to bring a non-perishable food item or make a donation to the Georgina Community Food Pantry.

Jennifer Anderson, the Chamber’s Executive Director, was excited to have the show back and pleased with the number of sponsors and local businesses and organizations who purchased booths.

“The unique thing about this show, especially this year, is that we don’t have a lot of one particular sector,” Anderson said.

“There seems to be a lot of diversity in the vendors and the people here. So it really is kind of a cross-section of what Georgina has to offer.”

“It allows people to explore all the local products and services under one roof.”

David Marchese agrees. He owns Georgina Insurance Brokers, based in Jackson’s Point.

“I think it’s great. It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to have events like this,” he said.

“It’s awesome to see how many people are working hard and how passionate they are about the community.”

“We’re proud to be a family-run brokerage. I’ve been in the business for 15 years, and I’ve never seen so much volatility in rates. It’s always good to look around; having a brokerage, we can do that for people.”

David Marchese

Besides insurance and real estate services, there were many unique niche businesses that consumers need to know about.

Melissa Sedore, for instance, runs Dental Hygiene On Demand, a home-based dental hygiene service.

“I’m an independent registered dental hygienist, which means I can work independently from a dentist,” Sedore said.

“I have a home-based hygiene office and do everything from cleaning and polishing to stain removal and whitening.”

“Some people have anxiety when it comes to visiting a dental office. Without the dentist there, you’re not hearing the drills or smelling the smells. The setting is just so much more comfortable and relaxed, and you’re not being rushed.”

Melissa Sedore

Ivy Henriksen is a life celebrant and officiant. Her business, Life Happens with Ivy, provides services for weddings, celebrations of life, memorials and funerals. She also provides grief support and counselling.

“We’re in wedding season, so it’s been busy with wedding requests. But I enjoy the celebrations of life just as much as the weddings, if not more because I’m able to go in, give support to the family, and help them on one of their hardest days to say goodbye to their loved ones,” said Henriksen, who admits she doesn’t spend a lot on advertising.

“This show helps with getting my name out, but it also helps me connect with people. When you either lose a family member or you’re getting married, you need to get a feeling for the officiant. At least this way, people can meet me in a casual environment.”

Debbie Macina, owner of Sweet Pea Boutique in Sutton, was selected best exhibitor at the show. She also kicked off the event with a fashion show of her spring line, which was well attended, filling 50 reserved seats.

“The Chamber does a great job. We had a steady flow of people. It’s good that it’s back,” she said.

“It lets people discover your business. They’ve heard of my store, but never been in. So it’s a good opportunity for them to see the items, the price point, the quality, all those things.”

Not everyone was selling a product or service at the show.

Former Ward 1 Councillor Mike Waddington decided to set up his version of a man cave, which he called “The Den,” complete with comfy chairs, a TV, and a fridge full of de-alcoholized beer.

Waddington’s booth proved popular with attendees regardless of gender, and there were numerous games of Keswick-Opoly played.

“The show has been fabulous. There’s been a ton of people here. It’s great for the business community,” Waddington said.

“Honestly, there have also been a lot of business-to-business interactions, which is always good. It’s more than just the people coming in. The person in the next booth could be selling you a product.”

Debbie Macina
Adam, Jim & Mike

Wei Hwa, a local realtor, echoed Waddington’s comments.

“It’s great for the public, but also for business owners to come out and meet each other and collaborate,” Wei said

“There are a lot of businesses here that we don’t even know exist in town. By meeting other business owners, you can figure out how you can work together to better each other’s businesses.”

Following the success of this year’s show, Anderson says it will be back again next year, bigger and better.

“Any time we can create opportunities to promote, develop and foster business in our community, we will do it.”

“People are very proud of this community and want to shop local.”