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A storefront for a day

Storefront business owners enjoy many conveniences that home-based business owners don’t, for example, something as simple as a sign.

In an effort to provide local home-based business owners with a storefront for a day, the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce is hosting its annual Home Based Business Expo on Saturday, April 22, at Kitsap Mall.

“We started this to recognize that home-based businesses face road blocks that brick and mortar businesses don’t face,” said Darla Murker, communications coordinator for the chamber. “They can come in and set up a display space and sell for the day. It’s giving them an opportunity to make themselves visible.”

Applications are being accepted now and can be found online at www.silverdalechamber.com. There is a small fee to set up at the event.

Last year about 18 home-based business owners participated. This year Murker is hoping to increase that number to about 25.

“We only have a few signed up right now,” she said. “We initially open it to chamber members and then to the public.”

When Murker initially pitched the idea about three to four years ago the chamber had 450 members. Of them, 201 represented small businesses and of those, 62 represented home-based businesses.

“It seemed important for those who might struggle with getting an identity established,” Murker said.

Currently home-based businesses represent more than half of all small businesses in the United States and are one of the fastest growing segments of the economy, according to the chamber.

“A lot of people are doing home-based businesses because they want to control their own destiny,” Murker said. “When you start a home-based business you never know if it could become the next Amazon(.com).”

Murker stresses the importance of exposure for home-based businesses and the need for owners to get their name out in the community.

“Your success depends on how much you put into it,” Murker said. “This is a great opportunity for exposure.”

The expo benefits potential customers, as well, who otherwise might not hear about home-based businesses in the area. Each year there are a wide range of displays from Mary Kay and Tupperware representatives to home-based photographers.

Paul Clemmons, owner of Wicked Home Entertainment, specializes in computers and home entertainment systems. He has participated in the event since its inception two years ago.

“I’ve signed up again,” he said. “I think with each year they’ll be more people coming along.”

Just being able to pass out his cards and tell people what his business is all about is what makes the event worthwhile for him.

“It’s not like I have a storefront, but I have new stuff to show off,” he said. “A lot of it has to do with talking with people and seeing how my products sit in their lives. They’ll remember me down the line and six to eight months later they’ll call ... You never know, there’s always a potential buyer out there.”

For more information about the event, call Murker at (360) 692-6800.

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