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LIBA's first Local Business Expo supports businesses, community

Aaron Byrne, Kimberlie Thompson and Trey Head.

Mayor Greg Fischer

Tricia Burke

Louisville Local Business Expo

Shopping locally helps locally. According to LIBA (Louisville Independent Business Alliance), a market shift of just 10 percent to local independent businesses would retain an additional $416 million in our regional economy.

LIBA capitalized on that idea when it held the inaugural Louisville Local Business Expo last Thursday, January 14, at the Clifton Arts Center (2117 Payne St). The showcase featured more than 35 businesses focused on selling goods to other businesses. TED-style talks about topics such as "Understanding the Millennial Mindset," and "How to Build Your Own Online Tribe;" and one-on-one office hours with professionals in fields like accounting, social media and human resources were also available.

Mayor Greg Fischer opened the event. "When I think about the city it feels authentic and unique," he said. "Our independent groups are the soul of that. Independent business owners reflect that."

Fischer's goal was for the independent business operators in attendance to "trade with each other. Connect the dots locally and grow a strong economy."

Tricia Burke, President, Office Environment Company (1136 West Market St.), decided to participate in the event to support LIBA, network and showcase the newest furniture offering "healthy best practices" like standing desks. "I'm a big supporter of LIBA," she said. Burke enjoys working with local businesses, and in turn, patronizing those businesses.

Aaron Byrne, Advisor, Bryne Insurance Group (9400 Williamsburg Plaza) and Trey Head, Account Executive, Bryne Insurance Group, have belonged to LIBA since 2008, the same year the insurance company was founded.
"Participating today is a great way to get our name out there and become more recognizable," said Head.

"Ninety-five percent of our business is based on referrals," added Byrne.

Celebrating the community, meeting people and supporting the local economy echoed throughout the event. In some cases, so was catching up with old friends. Stationed next to the Byrne Insurance Group booth was Universal Linen Service (1807 Commerce Rd), the largest locally owned full-service linen company in Louisville, which was founded in 1896. Kimberlie Thompson, Territory Sales Manager, Universal Linens, attended high school with Byrne. 

Thompson worked for Universal Linens for five years before moving out of state. Last year, she returned to her hometown—and her old job was waiting for her. "If that doesn’t say something about local companies here, I don't know what does," she said.

Read more articles by Melanie Wolkoff Wachsman.

Melanie Wolkoff Wachsman is Managing Editor of Louisville Distilled.
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