By Don Bolding
Killeen Daily Herald
HARKER HEIGHTS –The indoor wide-open spaces of the Harker Heights Event Center fit the Western theme of the Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce's first Business Bonanza, which hosted about 100 Heights and area businesses Friday night.
All the scene needed was a few live animals – it did have a hay bale adorned with a pair of longhorns that visitors could lasso – but it did have three big chopper motorcycles rolled in by Texas Proud Custom Cycles.
The only thing the exhibitors had in common was membership in the chamber. The event was originally planned as a bonus for businesses that joined in a December membership drive, but chamber president Bill Kozlik said the idea became so popular in the planning that it was opened to all members.
Everything but alcoholic beverages was free of charge, and the chamber gave out one coupon per adult visitor for those.
The Event Center donated the building for the evening, exhibitors paid nothing, admission was free, so there was no reason to count visitors, and Schoepf's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Q of Belton gave away free food. Local singer Michael Brandon donated his time. Chris Cowan of Confetti Rentals decorated the stage free of charge.
The exhibitors included all kinds of business and professional organizations and nonprofit groups. Greater Killeen Free Clinic director Marlene DiLillo said, "This is a great opportunity for nonprofits on a tight budget to get our name before the public."
Attorney Ted Smith, chairman of the board of the chamber this year, said, "It's a wonderful way for people to get to know each other. People see each other around town all the time, but one doesn't know what the other does. Now they can go see each other in their stores."
Organizers honored the six chairmen of the December membership drive with gifts of director's chairs. They included Ken Finch, Patrick Starns, J.D. Johnson, Cyd West, Dave Grifford and Larry Linder.
Corporate sponsors included the Harker Heights Event Center, Union State Bank, the Ted Smith Law Firm, Teri's Travel, Logos in Thread and First State Bank Central Texas.
Contact Don Bolding at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7557.