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    Mona Powell is a woman of determination. In 1996, she thought it would be a great idea for women who own small businesses to get together and form a network to help each other out. One of the network’s goals would be creating greater exposure in the community for their businesses. Just as tenaciously as she established her own business, Color Me Angel, Powell went about establishing an event by women business owners, for women business owners. In its ninth year, W.O.M.E.N. (Women Owned and Managed Enterprising Networks) expo is slated for May 9-10 at Cross Creek Mall. The event’s focus hasn’t changed much over the ensuing years — it’s still geared toward helping small business women gain exposure for their businesses, but it’s also a celebration of women, and its annual timing around Mother’s Day makes it even more special.
    “We are celebrating mothers,” said Powell. “It’s a tribute to mom — we’re celebrating women as mothers, who are also business owners.”
    There will be more than 67 women-owned businesses participating in the event. Powell said the vendors will be distributed throughout the mall. Women will be showcasing their businesses and will be supporting the day-long celebration by offering door prizes and sponsoring several fun events slated for the afternoon.
“We have all sorts of fun events planned for Saturday,” explained Powell. “We have a mother/daughter lookalike contest, a dance team contest and a scavenger event.”
    These events have become signature events for the expo. Last year, so many people signed up to participate in the events, that there had to be two to three iterations just to let everyone participate.
    “The dance contest is great,” explained Powell. “It’s a mother/daughter team dancing to their favorite music. Last year, the youngest contestant was only 16-months-old, but she was shaking it.”
    The scavenger hunt is a great way for moms and their daughters to spend time together. It actually starts on Thursday afternoon, and participants have until 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon to collect everything on the list and bring it to the stage, which is located in the food court.
    This isn’t your average scavenger hunt. Last year, participants were required to find things like a cattail, a picture of the smallest house they could find, an eight-track tape and a 1942 Sears and Roebuck Catalog. Two people found that catalog.
    “It’s a lot of fun for the family,” said Powell. “The younger team members have to ask what some of the things are. We had one girl call last year and ask what an eight-track was.”
    Lists can be picked up at the mall’s customer service desk on Thursday afternoon or can be downloaded from www.colormeangel.com.
    The big event of the day is the crowning of one lucky mother as Queen for the Day. To enter your mom in the contest, you have to write a 100 word or less essay on why your mom should be treated like a queen. The winning mom will be notified in advance, and the coronation will take place at 2 p.m. The lucky mom will win a $500 gift pack including spa treatments and dinner.
    Powell said she has been getting calls all week from people who want to participate, and she only sees the event growing. She noted that the event kicks off with a social for the vendors on Thursday, and runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday.
    “We take Sunday off because we need time to celebrate,” she said.
    For more information, visit the Color Me Angel Web site at www.colormeangel.com.

    Contact Janice Burton at: [email protected]

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