■ By Kyle Selby / Reporter
On Aug. 23, the Hemet/San Jacinto Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2017 Hemet Business Expo, inviting bustling businesses to the Hemet Valley Mall, which recently underwent cosmetic changes and an interior redesign.
More than 80 business exhibitors and booths were present, including Boxing for Christ, La Catrina’s, Hemet Library Foundation, SJ Medical Group, Wells Fargo, Salvation Army, Home Instead, The Tutoring Center, and many more.
“When I came in here, it was buzzing – this is a great thing,” said Lt. James Fleming from the Salvation Army. “I’m seeing the community coming together more and more with the Chamber of Commerce, or the Fire Department, and I’m really glad to see that. I think the more we come together, the more we can help and offer services to people that are really struggling out there.”
The expo exhibitors offered free health screenings, face painting, raffle prizes, and even a complimentary grocery tote bag to its visitors that evening while they had an opportunity to meet representatives of local businesses.
“We have a lot of people that live in the community and shop outside of our valley, when we have the same or even better businesses here,” said Chamber of Commerce representative Karena Zermeno, who hopes that the expo served as an introduction to local businesses the community may have not been aware of previously. “Not only does this give our local mall exposure and more revenue, but it also exposes the other businesses that we might ignore when we drive down the street.”
Other vendors recognized that the valley’s local business is not only important to the community, but to outsiders as well. Michael Carle, general manager of Golden Village Palms RV Resort, has some choice words of advice for local business owners.
“The tourist season starts Oct. 1, and now is the time to actually take a look at your storefront,” explained Carle. “A fresh coat of paint makes a big difference right now. Make sure the parking lot lights all work at the right time for safety and security, pick up the trash outside of your business…all of those things will make a big difference when the tourists are rolling on in. Let your customers know how much you appreciate them being in town.”