Small business owners and operators in St. Petersburg and five surrounding counties–Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Manatee and Polk–are invited to find out if their goods and services match items the city uses on a daily basis to meet citizens’ needs during a Reverse Trade Show, Friday, May 6. This is the second year for the city-sponsored trade show, held at the Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Business owners will be able to introduce their product or service to representatives from more than 20 city departments responsible for purchasing more than $210 million annually, ask questions and find out if a need for their product or service exists. They can also learn about current city bid opportunities, available city contracts and get registered as a city vendor. Representatives from the city’s Business Assistance Center will be on hand to answer questions and offer support to local small business owners interested in becoming a Small Business Enterprise (SBE).
“We want to help small businesses in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County, as well as those in our four surrounding counties, find alternative income sources in these tough economic times,” said Mayor Bill Foster. “This is a great opportunity for local business owners to learn what the city needs and turn it into a positive relationship that benefits everyone, including our citizens.”
Hosted by the city’s Procurement and Supply Management department, the reverse trade show will have city employees from more than 20 city departments, including Water Resources, Sanitation, Police and Fire, the Downtown Enterprise facilities (The Pier, Marina, Sunken Gardens, Coliseum, Albert Whitted airport, the Port of St. Petersburg, Progress Energy Center for the Arts/Mahaffey Theater, and Tropicana Field), the city’s Golf Courses, Libraries, Codes Compliance, Parking and Transportation, Real Estate and Property Management and more, along with community partners, including Progress Energy and the University of South Florida.
“Last year, the city was able to identify more than 50 new vendors from businesses attending our first Reverse Trade Show. With the support of community partners as Progress Energy, the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, JobCorps, the Pinellas County Purchasing Department, PSTA, the USF Supplier Diversity program, and the St. Petersburg Housing Authority, we’re hopeful this year’s event will achieve even greater results,” stated Louis Moore, Director of the city’s Procurement and Supply Management Department.
While the city has purchased everything from chicken feed, butterflies, and bee removal services in the past, Moore says the trade show will concentrate on some of the more commonly-used items from small businesses, including lawn and landscaping products and services, financial services, plumbing, electrical, machine shop services, computer and technology services, building and equipment maintenance, industrial and construction products, uniforms and accessories, custodial products and services, and printing services during this year’s event.