SOUTH DUNDAS – If this past weekend was any indication of how South Dundas business is feeling about the future, business is looking forward to it.

The pandemic made it impossible for the South Dundas Chamber of Commerce to hold their annual trade show at the Morrisburg arena; this spring they were able to.  And visitors to the trade show picked up right where they left off before Covid arrived. The trade show ran on Fri., April 29 and Sat., April 30.

The show featured 44 vendors, most of them local with a few from the Cornwall area. The Cornwall Chamber of Commerce was not planning on having their own trade show this year, so some members of Cornwall’s chamber came down the road to Morrisburg to take part in the South Dundas Chamber’s show.

This was the chamber’s office manager Tracy McMillan’s first effort at bringing business together for a trade show.

“I reached out to all of our businesses and members; the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce was not having a trade show, so, I reached out to their office manager over there and told her that we could share information.”

Working with her chamber directors it took her six weeks to set up.

“I am extremely pleased with how this has turned out. Me and the directors put it together. We wanted to keep it simple because it was the very first one after Covid. In years past, they had demonstrations and fashion shows, but we wanted to keep it simple. So far, my feeling is that everybody is pleased,” said McMillan.

McMillan said she is already thinking about next year.

The president of the South Dundas Chamber, Jim Cooper was thrilled to be back dealing with real people instead of an email. Cooper viewed the event as an opportunity to leave the pandemic mentality behind.

He said, “The theme that we want to go with is a “Fresh Start”. That will mean different things to different people. With everything that has happened in the last two years, for me the fresh start means let’s get back to what we do best and how we do it. A ‘fresh start’ does not mean you are going back to the way it was. It is a ‘fresh start’ for how you are going to act today.”

Cooper believes that during the pandemic, businesses and their customers had to learn to do things differently.

“We have evolved,” he said. “The chamber has evolved; emails, webinars and phone calls they have a purpose, but I love being face to face. I am this high off the ground. This is a success,” said Cooper.

MPP Eric Duncan was at the trade show manning a booth and chatting with visitors.

He was happy to be able to be back talking to people.

Duncan said, “This has been great for several different reasons. It is a fundraiser and networking event for the chamber and that is really good. People are anxious to get out again. It is helping business and letting people know what is in the area. People want to shop local, so this is showing them what’s local.”