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Restaurants get fired up for expo

Regional businesses showcased in Folsom Connection 2009
By: Bridget Jones, Special to the Telegraph
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A free chamber of commerce event Thursday is promoting shopping local stores first. Folsom Connection 2009, formally known as BizExpo, is a family-friendly chance for area residents to re-educate themselves about local businesses. “The event itself is the same,” said Annette Manz, chamber of commerce chairwoman for the event. “The name itself has been what’s changed. It’s not just a business expo, it’s a community expo, so the name was deceiving. Folsom Connection means it’s connecting businesses and the community together.” The event also has a new venue at the Folsom Sports Complex on Clarksville Road. Folsom Connection 2009 will feature 150 exhibitors for local residents to interact with, including more than 10 restaurants giving out free lunch samples. Companies in attendance will range from SMUD to Folsom Automall, covering the spectrum of businesses available to Folsom residents. “There will be a nice range of businesses,” Manz said. “It should be a fun, kind of light opportunity for folks to peruse the booths.” All local employees are encouraged to come out to the event to get to know fellow businesses in the region, Manz said. “We’d love all the employees of all the local businesses to come down on their lunch hours … and have lunch on us,” Manz said. Katie Winegard, the general manager of Tahoe Joe’s on Blue Ravine Road, said the restaurant is always happy to get involved with local events. “We just really believe in helping out in the community and doing what’s needed,” Winegard said. “We work really close with the chamber and they asked us to (participate), so of course we’re happy to do it.” Winegard said Tahoe Joe’s will be giving out its trademark cheesecake bites at the event, and hopes to promote other parts of its business, including the fact that it is now open for lunch. “Not too many people know about that yet, so when we are at events we point out our lunch menu in a huge way,” Winegard. Joe Krebsbach, general manager of BJ’s Restaurant Brewhouse on E. Bidwell Street, said this event is an important way for his restaurant to connect with the Folsom community. “It’s a good way to reach out to the community and show them what we have and possibly meet people who haven’t been to our restaurant yet,” Krebsbach said. BJ’s will be giving out samples of their trademark pizza, root beer and pasta salad. Krebsbach said this event shows how much the business community cares about its patrons. “It shows the city really cares about its people,” he said. “The chamber is working very hard to put on different (events), so it’s good to see the participation (in those events).” Manz said the main goal of the event is to encourage area residents to shop their own merchants first, to help the local economy thrive. “Because our economy is the way it is … this is the time we want to support our local businesses,” Manz said. “It’s so important that we shop in Folsom. So, it’s a really important message we want to get out: shop Folsom first.” Marilyn Macken, general manager of Fat’s Asia Bistro on Iron Point Road, said she enjoys supporting Folsom because her business is located here. “I work here, so I’m going to spend my money in this town,” Macken said. Macken said Fat’s would be serving pot stickers at the event as well as promoting its Easter brunch happening April 12. They will also promote other current specials, she said. Macken said chamber of commerce events are very beneficial to her restaurant. “We try to do as many benefits for the Folsom chamber as possible,” she said. “(This event is) an outreach to kind of keep our name in the forefront. It keeps our location in (residents’) minds.” IN THE KNOW What: Folsom Connection 2009 (formerly BizExpo) Where: Folsom Sports Complex, 66 Clarksville Road When: 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., Thursday, March 26 Cost: free Call: 985-5555 Bridget Jones can be reached bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com.