HARRISBURG — State Sen.Dale Fowler and the Southern Illinois Chambers of Commerce recently announced the official opening of the vendor portal for the upcoming Southern Illinois Made Expo.
“Given the circumstances of the past year, several businesses are still working to get back on their feet and recover from the pandemic,” said Fowler (R-Harrisburg). “With the number of unforeseen challenges many of our job creators have faced, I am beyond excited to bring this platform back to the region and provide a unique opportunity to bring recognition to Southern Illinois’ business community.”
The Southern Illinois Made Expo is an initiative developed between Fowler and the Southern Illinois Chamber of Commerce in 2018. The expo was created as a way to highlight the businesses and tourism destinations operating throughout the region.
This year’s event is set to take place Oct. 9-10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Marion Pavilion.
As of July 15, exhibitor registration for interested businesses opened to the public. This means interested businesses that meet exhibitor criteria can sign up to have a booth featured at the event.
“Southern Illinois businesses are so unique and innovative,” said Karen Mullins, the executive director of the Marion Chamber of Commerce. “The Southern Illinois Regional Chambers of Commerce began this initiative with Sen. Fowler to help promote our business community and bring awareness to the amazing, one-of-a-kind products and creations being produced and manufactured in Southern Illinois. We are so excited to be able to once again come together to host this expo.”
To become an exhibitor at the Southern Illinois Made Expo, the following criteria must be met:
• Feature products produced in Southern Illinois or destinations available in Southern Illinois;
• Willingness and capacity to sell/showcase products/destinations to retailers and the public at your booth during both days of the event;
• Agree not to exhibit or promote any products/destinations not made in Southern Illinois;
• Agree to all Exhibitor Rules & Regulations listed in the Participation Agreement Form section; and
• Provide Certificate of Insurance by email on or before the proper date.
“In past years, we’ve had so many amazing vendors take part in the expo, including well-known businesses like the Chocolate Factory, Dinger Bats, Pepsi Co. and more,” said Fowler. “These are some major job creators here in the region, creating and manufacturing goods and products that are renowned. This expo is so near and dear to my heart because it is businesses, like those that participate in our expo, that help drive our economy, put people to work and make a difference in our communities.”
Businesses based in Southern Illinois are encouraged to visit simade.org to learn more about becoming an exhibitor or to reserve a booth. The deadline to register is Sept. 8 and space is limited.
“There’s no question, Southern Illinois is home to one of the most diverse and innovative business communities in the country, and I’m looking forward to seeing what this year’s Expo has to offer,” Fowler said.
Proceeds from the event will benefit Operation Honor Guard and the 20 guard units throughout Southern Illinois. This organization seeks to raise funding to provide military funerals for fallen veterans.