June 07, 2012

Businesses can sign up for food-wine products expo

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A special opportunity now awaits Southern Illinois businesses courtesy of the Southern Illinois University Carbondale Entrepreneurship and Business Development unit and the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

The Illinois Food and Wine Products Show is returning to the Du Quoin State Fair in 2012 and now is the time to sign up to participate.  It will take place Sept. 1 and 2 in the air-conditioned Expo Hall.  This show offers companies the chance to showcase their Illinois food products to a large audience of fairgoers.  

By definition, an Illinois food product is produced, processed or packaged in Illinois or a product for which the company headquarters is located in Illinois.  On the weekend preceding Labor Day during the Du Quoin State Fair, the special display area will feature assorted food products and drinks, including wine.  

Each participating company will offer product samples, promotional information and items available for the public to purchase.  The “marketplace” will be in the north end of the Expo Hall and it will be open from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 2.  Each featured business will have a 10-square-foot area for its products, displays and promotional materials.  

Any Illinois food/drink product business is welcome to participate but all must be clients of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIU Carbondale.  Becoming a client is free and takes just a few minutes.  Food product businesses must apply by June 29 for selection as a participant in the Illinois Food and Wine Products Show.  Notification of selection will be within a week after the application period ends.  The only expense involved in participating is in providing samples to fairgoers. 

“The ISBDC is excited to once again have this high-traffic venue to offer to our clients to help them get the word out and showcase their products to the public.  This show in the past has generated tremendous sales and even contracting opportunities for the participating food product businesses,” said Robyn Laur Russell, director of business development and international trade at SIU Carbondale. 

To sign up or for more information about the show or the Entrepreneurship and Business Development Unit at SIU Carbondale, call 618/453-3805.  You can also learn more by visiting the website at www.siusbdc.com.  To obtain an application, contact Russell at rrussell@biz.siu.edu or by calling 618/453-3805.

The Entrepreneurship Unit debuted the “Made in Southern Illinois Marketplace” six years ago at the Du Quoin State Fair and the event has proven popular with businesses and fair visitors alike.  In 2011, the partnership with the Illinois Department of Agriculture resulted in the expanded food products sampling and sales promotional event.