Women's expo

OTTUMWA — Thursday is the start of a new tradition for area women.

“There was interest in a women’s expo before we ever decided to put one on,” said Erica Kenney, Ottumwa Courier classifieds manager. Her department has teamed up with the advertising sales department to put on the Ultimate Women’s Expo from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday at Bridge View Center. “We had some local businesses ask us if we had ever considered doing a women’s expo” before this one got rolling.

“Our sister publication, the Clinton Herald, has been doing one for several years, and they have a fantastic turnout,” Kenney said. “It’s the biggest event they do.”

And with Ron Gutierrez as leading both newspapers as publisher, it was a natural fit.

The Courier event has 40 vendors lined up. “We have everything from Scentsy to Thirty-One to Swarovski Crystals, health care providers, chiropractors and even name-brand clothing,” Kenney said. Food and beverages will be available, and 10-15 Transit will be on site with their buses for people to tour.

The free event comes with giveaways, too. “The first 300 people will get a swag bag. Drawings will be held every 10 minutes,” Kenney said, but you do have to be present to win. “Many of the vendors have donated gift certificates and merchandise to be given away.”

In addition, Community 1st Credit Union will be giving way a gift basket worth $100, and the big drawing is for an electric recliner from Bridge City TV & Appliance. “We’ve had a lot of great sponsors,” Kenney said.

Part of the goal is also to help educate women, she said, with women’s health providers on site. “It’s about learning how we can take care of ourselves. As moms and women, we tend to put ourselves last, and it’s just a chance to take a couple of hours for ourselves.”

And the excitement is building. “We still have people joining us as vendors today,” Kenney said Wednesday. “We’ve had people calling in asking about it. Everyone participating in it is so excited, and we are really excited about putting it on.

“My main thing is for women to just take a chance to get away and pamper themselves,” she said. “With this being our first locally, I hope everyone that does attend sees the turnout and we can build on this next year to make it even bigger.”

Features Editor Tracy Goldizen can be reached via email at tgoldizen@ottumwacourier.com or followed on Twitter @CourierTracy.

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Tracy Goldizen is the Courier's magazine editor, leading production of "Ottumwa Life," the award-winning "Business People" and the Courier's other magazine offerings. She began work with the Courier on the copy desk.