Business and Industry Showcase highlights proud past, bright future

Hunter Greene mans the Mahoney’s table at the Sesquicentennial Business and Industry Showcase, which was held last Wednesday at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City. PHOTO BY DAVE ONGIE

By Dave Ongie, News Editor

As Johnson City continues to celebrate its upcoming 150th anniversary, the business community welcomed folks to the Carnegie Hotel last Wednesday for a Business and Industry Showcase.

Around 30 vendors were on hand, and they each had a story to tell. Some have been a part of the landscape in Johnson City for decades, and others are still in the process of building a name for themselves. That being said, Johnson City Mayor Jenny Brock was pleased that the event provided not only a look back at the important role business and industry have played in the city’s history, but also a look at what she believes will be a bright future.

Sarah Laposky was on hand to tell visitors more about the Hands On! Discovery Center, which relocated to the Gray Fossil Site last June. PHOTO BY DAVE ONGIE

“It really represents a lot of entrepreneurs, creative people who started businesses,” Brock said. “It’s kind of a showcase for these small businesses to show the community what they do. We have companies with different lengths of longevity. We want them to keep growing and expanding. We want to see new entrepreneurs in here as well.”

The event featured food and drink from several restaurants and breweries in Johnson City. With no formal program, people had the opportunity to walk from table to table and learn more about some of the businesses that help drive our local economy.

As she made her way around the ballroom that held the showcase, Brock was happy to see the spirit of cooperation on display and likened it to the recent push for regionalism currently taking hold in city and county governments around Northeast Tennessee.

“I think it’s very representative of what’s going on in the region,” she said. “We’re all coming together, recognizing that as smaller cities, it’s harder to do things alone, but it’s much easier for us to take on big issues when we work together. We’re expanding our footprint so people from outside the region can recognize us much better. Everybody’s working together, and we’re very excited about it.”

Preston McKee, his wife Shuly Cawood and therapy dog Kibbi represented Morris-Baker Funeral Home, a family-owned business that has served the people of Johnson City for over 100 years. PHOTO BY DAVE ONGIE

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