The Fort Hood Army Wives Expo will once again bring military spouse entrepreneurs together to grow their businesses.

There are 120 vendors registered for Friday’s event at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, said Anita Hernandez, president of the nonprofit dedicated to serve, connect and encourage military spouses.

“All of our vendors are local. It’s a local event,” Hernandez said.

“When people come out, they are supporting local military spouses or local businesses in our area.”

Those who aren’t military spouses are local resources in the area such as colleges and fitness centers.

Vendors range from direct sales to crafters to photography. Direct sales are limited to one vendor per company to allow for a variety of options.

The nonprofit began hosting bi-annual expos in March 2011 with about 600 attendees. Now it’s grown to more than 2,000 visitors.

“It keeps growing,” Hernandez said. “We are getting a good amount of attendance.”

As with each past expo, there will be a collection drive. This year people can bring Easter eggs to support the organizations annual Easter event, or they can bring gently used or new baby items for Cry Babies. They will also be accepting toilet paper for a collection drive for the Cove House, spearheaded by a local Girl Scout.

New for this year is a childcare room. Parents can drop off their potty-trained children up to 10 years old with a $5 donation. The volunteers for childcare have been through background checks, Hernandez said.

There will also be a bounce house children can play in for free with a donation for the egg hunt.

All monetary proceeds go back to Fort Hood Army Wives to help keep their events free, such as Mommies and Muffins, Dads and Donuts, a summer bash and the upcoming egg hunt.

“For all those things we take those funds and spread out for the year to keep events free,” Hernandez said.

The final surprise of the expo will be the unveiling of the organization’s new name — Fort Hood Military Spouses and Families.

“We added the keywords spouse and military,” Hernandez said. We’re not doing Army because many posts are becoming combined posts. Even here we have Air Force spouses. They often ask if it’s OK to participate. Of course it is.”

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profileHere. You can contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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