Local business leaders packed the commissioner’s meeting room Wednesday morning for Forsyth County’s vendor symposium.
From printers to construction companies, merchants learned more about how the county government and school system make purchases.
Scott Thomson with Universal Engineering Sciences has been a county vendor for about six years, but noted “it’s always good to come out and remember things that maybe we had forgotten a while ago.”
“We know a lot of the ropes obviously ... but you always learn something at these things,” he said.
Donna Kukarola, director of the county's purchasing department, and Brad Richardson, Forsyth County Schools' purchasing coordinator, covered some of the basics of how to become a vendor.
Richardson talked about what type of purchases the school system makes and the different ways those deals are made.
“The first step to doing business with the school system is letting us know who you are,” Richardson said.
Both the county and the school system rely on their Web sites to relay information.
Kukarola offered some tips, such as submitting bids before the deadline.
“I really don’t like to turn away a bid,” which is what happens to any late proposals.
“We want to help you be successful,” Kukarola told the businesses. “That’s our goal.”
Following the large group session businesses broke out into separate rooms for more industry-specific information.
Michael Carter with Georgia Promotional Products said he has worked with the school system before, but hasn’t submitted any county bids.
Carter said he quickly learned “the majority of the items are handled online, and that’s where you need to go to find the request for proposals and the bid documentations."
“The gentleman who’s in charge of my particular area, I know who that contact is now,” he said.
The symposium was a first for the county, which joined with the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce to reach interested companies.
Jason Mock, director of the chamber’s Small Business Services Center, said the event was a great way to get firms involved in their local government.
Receiving more bids increases the county's options, but also helps local merchants.
“Most of our chamber members are Forsyth County residents,” Mock said. “Their tax dollars are being spent here in the community. And if they do business here, they might as well try to get a little piece of the pie.
“It helps get their name out there as a business owner. If you’re doing business with the county, it looks good for your business.”