WICHITA — The Haysville Chamber of Commerce is holding its 11th annual Community Expo April 16, but at a week out, there are only about half the booth rentals the chamber expected.
“Our committee is pretty baffled and pretty down,” says chamber director Barb Walters.
The expo started as a business expo and “has turned into an everything expo,” she says.
In addition to businesses, others with booths include schools, civic groups and government entities.
Last year, there were 54 booths. This year, the chamber hoped for 64 booths. Instead, there are 31.
“I don’t know if it’s the economy or if there’s other stuff going on,” Walters says.
She says some people have wondered if the expo simply has run its course.
“I don’t think that’s true,” Walters says.
She says exhibitors have indicated it’s a good forum to reach a lot of people quickly.
“I do think probably marketing dollars are down,” Walters says.
She says the expo isn’t a money-maker for the chamber but has always broken even.
Walters hopes to still attract exhibitors by Thursday — 8-by-10 booths are $100 — but the show will go on regardless of how many booths there are.
“We will not cancel,” she says. “We can’t cancel. No way.”