SPRING HILL — Call it a one-stop shopping mall for Hernando County businesses looking for customers. That's pretty much the idea behind Hernando Marketplace, which returns to Anderson Snow Park on Saturday for its fourth annual outing.
The event, sponsored by the Greater Hernando County Chamber Of Commerce, the Hernando County Parks and Recreation Department and the county's Office of Business Development, kicks off at 10 a.m. and will showcase about 100 local small businesses, roughly twice the number that turned out for the inaugural event, said chamber events coordinator Dawn Badami.
"It's grown from a small, fun event to being a busy day with lots for people to do," Badami said.
"It's become one of the chamber's most popular community events."
In addition to the business showcase, the free event offers a family-friendly atmosphere that includes entertainment, food vendors, a kids activity zone, even an Easter egg hunt. In addition, the marketplace will once again host the preliminary round for the Florida Blueberry Festival's annual blueberry pie contest.
Chamber president Pat Crowley said the showcase makes perfect sense in a large, spread-out county where many business storefronts are tucked away in strip malls or along high-speed highways.
People driving by may only catch a glimpse of a sign or storefront before turning their attention back to the road.
"By having businesses in place in a family outing situation, they have the opportunity to showcase their products and services with mom, dad and the kids all there," Hayes said.
"When people have a chance to walk around and spend some time getting to know you and your business, they're more apt to remember who you are the next time they are looking for those services. Those kinds of opportunities are getting rarer and rarer all the time."
Logan Neill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1435.