By TAYLOR HARTZ
Representatives from 31 local businesses will gather at Derynoski Elementary School from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m this Saturday for Southington’s first home and business show.
The show – sponsored by the Southington Public School’s Parent Teacher Organization – will raise funds for Derynoski Elementary, while offering exposure and networking opportunities for small business owners in the community.
Laura Rothkopf, executive coordinator for the PTO, said the idea to host Southington’s first home and business show arose from the goal of keeping business in Southington. “We want to show the community that you really don’t have to go far to get what you need,” said Rothkopf.
From wellness centers to travel agencies, bakeries and beauty salons, an eclectic mix of local businesses will fill Derynoski with displays of their goods and services. For the first show of its kind, the community had an overwhelmingly positive response, said Rothkopf – “A lot of businesses are excited to show their services, so they can show the community that they have everything they need right here in Southington and the local area.”
Gino Orfitelli, owner of ePRO Computer Repair in Southington, is one of many business owners excited for the opportunity to meet local business owners and community members. Offering computer repairs in Southington for nearly six years, Orfitelli is proud that his business specializes in helping residential clients and small local businesses.
“I try to be as community-minded as possible, so any time an opportunity for local businesses shows up, I always try to meet people” said Orfitelli, who thinks the show will be “a two way street” for his business – helping him meet more potential clients, while meeting other business owners he can support and work with.
Orfitelli said he hopes the first business and home show will promote more support in Southington, “I believe very strongly in local businesses, I would love to see more residents take advantage of the local resources we have here.”
Tricia Belfont, owner of Castle Dreams Travel, knows first hand about the need for small business support in Southington, and the benefits of PTO fundraisers on students, including her daughter, a third-grade student at Derynoski Elementary. Belfonti, who has been operating the full service travel agency from her home since 2011, often uses other businesses and restaurants in the Southington area for meetings with clients, and knows “it’s important to keep the small businesses alive and well.”
Belfonti said she credits her strong client base in Southington with the strength of her business, saying she often relies on word of mouth for new clients. As a Deryonski parent, Belfonti said she has found PTO events to be especially beneficial in the past and thinks this show offers “a great opportunity to meet the people of Southington, get our name out there, and give back to the school.”
While exposure for local business will benefit the Southington community and economy, all funds raised from the show will go directly to the children of Deryonski, said Rothkopf. The PTO has used recent fund raising efforts to install playground equipment, help lower field trip costs, and supply all teachers with Smart Boards and iPads to improve teaching efficiency.
For further fund raising, food and beverages will be available for purchase throughout the show – all provided by local businesses owners – and Miss Southington Val Voccio will help raffle off a variety of services and items donated by local business owners for the benefit of students and staff at Deryonski.
The Home and Business Show of the Derynoski Elementary School PTO will be held Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Derynoski Elementary School on Main Street.