Holidays are right around the corner and that means that you need to start on your gift list. A great way to start would be to visit the annual Small Business Expo held by the local North Carolina Center of Economic Empowerment and Development, otherwise known as CEED.

Every year CEED gives local business owners an opportunity to show off their exclusive and lim10-12-11-small-business-expo.jpgited products and have them available for individuals to purchase. This is a wonderful opportunity to start shopping for the holidays and get your hands on exclusive deals that no one else offers. 

Visitors to the event will find a wide variety of goodies to give to their favorite someone — or even to keep for themselves. There will be a vendor from Pretty & Pink where one can get their hands on fashion accessories, handbags, clothing and more. D-Unique Jewelry and Accessories will be there along with Hope Thru Horses, which is an equine-assisted psychotherapy program. Diamond Home Essentials and Ways of Wellness will be in attendance as well.

There are about 80 vendors who will be present during the expo this year including several food vendors. Chef Julius III, who is well known for the Bezzies Home-style Barbeque Sauce, is a local favorite and will be at the event.

According to Laura Solano, who is a business consultant at CEED, “This is our third year for organizing the Small Business Expo, and it’s our first time holding it at Cross Creek Mall. Our objective is to stimulate our local business growth and bring exposure.”

Cross Creek Mall, being a centralized location, will bring an increased amount of vendors and attendees this year. CEED has a main goal of finding ways to help individuals and businesses succeed. By going along with the mission of promoting growth, productiveness and well being through peer counseling, education, information and advocacy programs, CEED is anticipating a successful event that is sure to please both the vendors and the event attendees.

CEED provides a variety of programs to the community, both on an individual and business level. Last year, according to CEED statistics, 2,407 small business owners attended 1,645 workshops and $285,000 was loaned to seven small business owners. Along with classes and workshops, CEED also provides many resources to displaced homemakers. Last year CEED helped 148 people in this category with resources like financial aid counseling, the career makeover workshop, the family law clinic and the computers for the workplace clinic.

The North Carolina Center for Economic Empowerment and Development is located at 230 Hay St. Find out more about the organization by visiting the website at or

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