Chamber hosts Taste of Newton

COVINGTON -- The Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce is getting into the spirit of National Buy Local Month by hosting A Taste of Newton, a food and business expo set for 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Porterdale Mill Lofts.

Local restaurants will offer samples off their menus and businesses will have information about their wares.

The whole idea is to put the spotlight on the variety of retail businesses and restaurants available in Newton.

"We hear often times that we need more national chains in terms of restaurants and such, and I understand where people are coming from in terms of that desire. But I'm also confident that our local restaurateurs do outstanding jobs. We want people to know what's here and what they serve. As far as traditional retail, we know there are empty store fronts, but we also know there's an enormous amount of retail leakage that leaves our county," said Chamber President Hunter Hall.

According to information provided by the Chamber, for every $100 spent at a locally owned establishment, $68 stays in the community, versus $43 spent at a national chain. Spending money out of county results in zero dollars going to the local community.

For that reason, the Chamber's Small Business Committee decided to hold an event to increase awareness about existing businesses that would also double as a fundraiser for the Chamber.

"We've done concerts and casino nights in the past, but those really didn't dovetail with helping us advance business, economic development and tourism," Hall said. "So we blended the business expo and food and restaurant expo into one. We've got about 15 food vendors and about 18 or 20 businesses We wanted to create a social event, an entertaining evening, a date night, if you will."

The band Sweet Harmony will provide entertainment and there will be raffles and giveaways throughout the evening.

The following vendors will participate: Amici's; Andrea's Catering; Angie's Professional Cleaning; Apollo Staffing; Bank of North Georgia; Benton House of Covington; Bizzy Bee; Bradley's BBQ; Bullritos; Covington YMCA; Gallery at the Grove; Johnny's Pizza; Just Dogs; Manpower Inc.; Montessori School of Covington; Nationwide Insurance; Newton Citizen; Newton Federal Bank; Newton Medical Center; Noring Farms; Peoples Home Medical; Plain Nuts; Precision Locksmith; Putters at the Oaks; Scoops; ServPro of Conyers/Covington; Sunbelt Builders; Sweet Treats; Tahitian Nonie International; United Bank; Van Go's Studio; Wheeler Funeral Home; Zaxbys;

Tickets for the event are $25 and interest seems high, as sales have been great so far, Hall said. Tickets can be purchased at any of the participating food vendors or at the Chamber, located at 2101 Clark St. If the event does not sell out prior to the start of the event, tickets will be sold at the door. Call 770-786-7510 for more information.