By ROB W. ANDERSON
Anyone who wants to learn how to save money on health insurance, get in on some giveaways, or find out what Tahlequah’s business community has to offer can have it all at the 2013 Tahlequah Business Expo next weekend.
The Saturday, March 30 event is being organized by the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class 14, which has hosted the meet-and-greet affair for the past three years.
The Expo will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Northeastern State University Herb Rozell Ballroom, on the second floor of the NSU University Center. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children. Children under 10 are admitted free.
Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director David Moore said booth space remains available for interested vendors.
Moore said anyone interested in learning how to save money on health or eye insurance can attend a 10 a.m. presentation offered by Two Sisters Financial and Vision Care Direct. Businesses or individuals who join the chamber can receive cheaper health care and/or vision insurance through the agencies.
Renita Dick of Two Sisters Financial is a sort of “insurance specialist,” Moore said.
“She’s got a lot of knowledge in Blue Cross Blue Shield and what’s called a Chamber Blue Program. Chamber Blue is an insurance program that all the chambers across the state participate in,” Moore explained. “Probably about a third of our new members join because the insurance through Chamber Blue is cheaper. You’ve got to be a member of the chamber. She’s really knowledgeable in that program, and she also is very familiar with tax credits employers can qualify for, for help with health insurance.”
Vision Care Direct is a statewide organization that offers a vision plan owned and operated by private-practice eye care providers through creation of state Independent Physician Associations, which cut out the middle man and allow patients to pay smaller premiums, according to its website.
“They do the same thing [for chamber members], but with eye insurance,” said Moore. “[Two Sisters Financial and Vision Care Direct] are going to do a 45-minute presentation on the changes in health care for businesses, on Chamber Blue itself and on vision insurance. Anybody in Tahlequah is invited to listen to that, and perhaps save some money on their insurance.”
Among the new vendors participating in the Expo this year are Carter Healthcare and Hospice, Community Home Health and Hospice, A Bloom Flowers and Gifts, Donita Armstrong Chair Massage, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, Captain Vapor Electronic Cigarettes, and Rib Crib, which will be offering patrons a sort of “wood nickel” holding the value of a buy-one, get-one-free sandwich.
“I’ll be handing out Hickory Nickels. It’s an incentive to stop by, especially if they haven’t tried our product yet. I’m also going to try to have some of our cups,” said Rib Crib Assistant Manager Ben Bantista. “Our focus this year is to get the word out about our catering. We do a great catering service, and we’ll have plenty of catering and to-go menus if they want to pick one up.”
The Daily Press will also have a booth to answer questions and provide information on subscriptions and other services, said Publisher David Compton.
“The Expo is an exciting opportunity for businesses to interact with the public,” he said. “The Daily Press plans to offer some specials and some giveaways that should keep our booth very active.”
The Expo host, Tahlequah Leadership Class 14, will be hosting an hourly drawing for chances to win televisions, an evening at the Tulsa Hard Rock Cafe Casino, gift cards and other prizes, said Tahlequah Business Expo Coordinator Scott Rosenthal.
Monies raised through the Expo will go to boost LC14’s mission to provide the community with a way to have fun while cooling off, he said.
“The splash pad is the goal and objective that Leadership Class 14 set out to explore. The project will be a joint effort between the Cherokee Nation, the city of Tahlequah and the Leadership Class 14 through the Tahlequah Chamber of Commerce,” said Rosenthal.
“The class had a goal to do something for the community that would benefit the youth, tourism, and business of the town. So far, all involved are still working toward that goal. The tentative location is downtown near Norris Park, but details are still in the works.”
For more information on the Expo, call the Chamber of Commerce at (918) 456-3742.