Showcase brings local business interests together



Photos by Shawn Nowlin

Server Marleigh Hall (left) and Pastry Chef Danielle Leavens (right), Our Daily Bread employees.

More than 80 businesses participated in last Thursday’s Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce Business Showcase Schmooza Palooza, an annual event now in its fifth year.

The purpose of the gathering, once again hosted by the Salem Civic Center, was for business owners to meet other entrepreneurs and build new relationships within the community.

In addition to being responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Chamber, Executive Director Jill Sluss also plays a vital part in every community event.

“We definitely had more participation this year as well as an increase in attendance. Everything that we do is a group effort,” Jill said. “In the past, the entire expo was held in the community room and parlors on the main level of the Salem Civic Center. It began growing, and that growth is why it is now held in the arena.”

David Shumate and Danielle Leavens became the owners of Salem’s Our Daily Bread restaurant a few months ago. They and their team pride themselves on delivering fresh food every morning. “The event was a wonderful experience for us. We were able to build new relationships, which is so important with us being new to the Salem area,” she said. “We look forward to participating in many more events and being able to build more partnerships with other local small businesses in the area.”

TekSolutions LLC specializes in cybersecurity and dark web monitoring. Formed in January 2012, President Frank Gatto says February 1 was his first time attending the business showcase. “It was great getting an opportunity to mingle with other businesses and network with people,” he said. “We are big believers in supporting our local community and buying local doesn’t mean just fruits and vegetables.”

Cook Latasha Smith giving out samples of her food.

According to representative William Loope, the Mount Regis Center is the only local patient health mental treatment facility dedicated to resolving the disease of addiction. “A lot of people don’t know that,” he said. “I’m very thankful for events like this because it gives me an opportunity to share with people everything that we have to offer.”

Attendee Max Peters loves coming across businesses that aren’t regularly seen on TV or at festivals. “I’ve lived in this area for about nine years, and there were companies present this year that I, unfortunately, knew nothing about,” he said. “I left with a bunch of business cards and a lot of optimism. I’m thankful that this event exists.”

For more information on the businesses that attended this year’s Roanoke County-Salem Business Showcase, contact the Chamber at 540-387-0267.

Attendees gathering information