TAVARES — Representatives from more than 300 businesses stepped into the Lake County Administration Building on Feb. 27 for an opportunity to meet face-to-face with procurement officials from local governments and agencies in Lake County.
“Not in my wildest dreams did I expect this large of a response,” said Barnett Schwartzman, Director of the Lake County Office of Procurement Services. “I think we are all pleased with the turnout.”
The agencies represented at the First Annual Reverse Vendor Tradeshow included Lake County Government, Lake-Sumter Community College, Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Lake County Clerk of Courts, Lake-Sumter Community College Business Resources Center, Lake County Schools and the municipalities of Eustis, Lady Lake, Leesburg and Tavares.
The tradeshow assisted businesses by giving them an opportunity to learn how to do business with local governments. On the other hand, local governments learned of potential new vendors to increase the competitive bidding process.
“I’ve been to reverse tradeshows before, but never had I seen a turnout like this,” said John Rumble, Purchasing Manager from the City of Tavares. “It’s been very helpful as I’m learning about goods and services that are offered in my own backyard.”
Ron and Kelly Linkous from Caskey’s Mower Shop, located at 510-A E. Alfred St. in Tavares, were one of the many business owners that endured long lines in the morning for a little face time with the agencies.
“Usually it’s us calling them to see if any bids are in the process,” Ron said. “This way I get to see everyone in one shot.”
Caskey’s Mower Shop currently has contracts with several of the local agencies represented at the trade show, but meeting the procurement officials face-to-face was a first.
“It’s kind of nice to put some faces with names,” Ron added.
Besides meeting the people involved with their existing contracts and angling for new business, the owners of the mower shop were touting their new garden center, which is slated to have a grand opening March 6-8.