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Overwhelming support and interest for Lexington CONNECT initiative

There has been a lot of buzz as we work to assemble all of the pieces for our upcoming Lexington CONNECT business event on May 6. Several brief posts on social media so far have generated around 2,000 views. Over the past few weeks we have received generous financial support and much encouragement from the community.

Our last meeting was attended by 18 individuals including city officials, retail, real estate, entertainment venues, citizens and others. We are pleased that many are young new faces taking an active interest in Lexington's future.

Lexington CONNECT is an event designed to to serve two purposes:
• Allow the public and real estate professionals tour available buildings for possible sale or rent to prospective entrepreneurs, and

• Build awareness of existing area businesses with city-wide Open House events, much like Small Business Saturday. Many businesses will host events and specials. Sustainability and support of our local businesses is equally important to attracting new businesses to town.

The Open Houses also allow businesses such as B&B's and the newly renovated motel to open their doors for tours. In addition, one new business will have their grand opening during the May 6 Lexington CONNECT, and another, while not quite ready to formally open, will offer 'sneak peeks'.

Presently, 11 available buildings will open to tour, and 17 existing businesses will celebrate with Open Houses during the event. City representatives will be available to answer questions and go the extra mile to do everything possible to work with visiting entrepreneurs.

The Chamber has reached out to several business-related organizations in the Kansas City area to assist in spreading the word about the event. Our hope is to encourage entrepreneurs to set sights on Lexington as an affordable place to set up shop. We've also developed realtor-specific materials for email blasts. Other marketing materials will also be deployed over the next few weeks.

Finally, a Lexington CONNECT website has been developed to list available buildings on tour, existing businesses Open Houses, a full description of the event plus contact information for visitors prior to attending the May 6 event. The website will be substantially updated over the next few weeks; you can visit www.historiclexington.com/events to see how Lexington CONNECT is growing. More info will be continually added.

In the meantime, there are still many ways to get involved and CONNECT:

• If you own a local business and want to participate in the citywide Open House, contact the Chamber and get registered. The $25 fee includes social media promotion, business website listing, a sign announcing the number of years you've been in business, and a sign with a history timeline of your building (if applicable).

• Attend our next Lexington CONNECT meeting, 9am, April 6, at River Reader, 1010 Main. You'll be able to witness and engage with a like-minded group of people who are serious about making Lexington an attractive, go-to town for business opportunity.

• Contribute to the cause. Any amount will be appreciated. Lexington CONNECT is an ongoing initiative dedicated to growing business and the community. Expenses for future promotion, signage and so on will continue after the May 6 event.

As we mentioned, the Chamber is thrilled with the involvement, energy and interest in Lexington CONNECT. There is no silver bullet, but focusing on the objectives of Commerce, Community, Hospitality and Opportunity drives Lexington to a new chapter of growth. Promoting awareness of what we have to those looking for available, affordable business property is the first step in that growth. Please make time to CONNECT with Lexington on May 6.

Lexington in Fact

>Was settled largely by Kentuckians and was named for Lexington, Kentucky.

>Is home to Wentworth Military Academy, founded in 1880, which still draws students from throughout the country and worldwide.

Setting Business Growth In Motion.