Santa Maria Business Expo returns, providing businesses an opportunity to showcase their products and services

SANTA MARIA, Calif. — The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce held its Business Expo Thursday at the Radisson Hotel.

The annual event allowed local businesses the opportunity to showcase their products and services to not only other businesses, but also the public as well.

“One of the real core tenants of a Chamber of Commerce is we’re a connector and a convener,” said Chamber President/CEO Glenn Morris. “We’re about bringing people together. It’s been a little difficult to do, you know, in the same ways over the last couple years. Today is one of those opportunities that were able to bring people back together and help reconnect and rebuild those relationships.”

For three hours, businesses were able to gain exposure, enforce branding, build their customer base, and network with other area business owners.

“It’s everything to a business owner,” said Donna Randolph, owner of Donna Randolph State Farm Insurance

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Hannibal’s Chocolate Extravaganza is a good time to get to know more Hannibal businesses | News

HANNIBAL — It’s a sweet weekend to celebrate the universal love of chocolate as Hannibal residents and tourists join area businesses for the annual Chocolate Extravaganza.

The event will be three full days, March 11-13, in which participants can enjoy a variety of offers through their Chocolate Passports. From sweets to local treats, it’s a good time to see what downtown Hannibal has to offer – all through the lens of chocolate.

While the Chocolate Extravaganza is a popular time to visit best-loved downtown businesses, it’s also an opportunity to discover new favorites. Several newer businesses are listed on the passport.

One of those is Paddlebox Games located in the Mark Twain Dinette, which opened last spring.

Paddlebox focuses on board games and other hands-on games, such as kid’s games and puzzles or adult games like the popular game of patterns, Azul. For spring to summer, they have outdoor games

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Dallas working to increase opportunities for minority-owned businesses, though hurdles remain

Initiatives designed to foster opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses are scattered across Dallas, with rules and goals to help owners win contracts with the city, the county or school district.

At a macro level, these programs are a pivotal tool to dig into the economic inequities born through years of discrimination, not just by individual actors but by governmental institutions, Dallas ISD trustee Justin Henry said.

These programs are necessary because economic empowerment is imperative to better a community, he said.

“There’s a lot of government action that created these inequities, so to order a remedy — that’s what equity means,” Henry said.

Strong minority- and women-owned business enterprise, or MWBE, programs are a large part of that remedy, he added. Otherwise, government institutions continue on the same course that led to such inequities, Henry said.

Dallas and Dallas County have business diversity plans dating back to the mid-1980s,

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Population loss, dwindling labor force hurting Guernsey Co. businesses

A dwindling population that pre-dates the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a limited labor force that continues to impact hiring woes for businesses in Guernsey County as they begin the new year.

According to the 2020 U.S. Census report, there are 38,438 residents in Guernsey County, down slightly from a previous projection of 38,750 and a 4.1% decline from 2010 when the population totaled 40,087.

“Probably the most important piece of data to recognize in our county is our shrinking population, said Sue Thomas-Sikora, assistant director of Guernsey County Department of Job and Family Services and OhioMeansJobs Guernsey County.

“However, our business and industry base has remained strong. We are fortunate that employers have remained committed to our county, however as folks move elsewhere it makes it more difficult to fill their job needs.”

Future estimates indicate the number of residents in Guernsey County will be 37,310 in 2030 and

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