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Vendor symposium set for Sept. 29
Focus is on doing business with county
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Forsyth County News
If you’re going

The Forsyth County Vendor Symposium will run from 8:30 a.m. to noon Sept. 29 in the Forsyth County Administration Building, 110 E. Main St. in Cumming. For more information or to register, call (770) 888-8872 or visit the purchasing department’s Web page at

Forsyth County spent more than $41 million on goods and services last year, buying everything from pens to heavy equipment.

But many local firms have never tried to do business with their county government.

That’s why the county will hold the first annual vendor symposium Sept. 29.

“Sometimes people aren’t sure how to do business with government, and I think this would be a great avenue to have them come in,” said Donna Kukarola, purchasing department director.

“This is open to all vendors that believe they might have a product or service they can offer the county.”

Kukarola said about 100 businesses have signed up for the symposium, and more are welcome to join until Sept. 28.  

The symposium will cover purchasing basics, but also delve deeper into understanding the request process and how to submit a bid.

While the county tends to look favorably on the lowest bidders, Kukarola said there’s much more to consider.

“What we want is the best value,” she said. “We’re looking at more of the qualifications as well as the pricing. So we’re looking at people that know their business and can provide a good service and a good value to the county.”

James McCoy, president and chief executive officer of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, helped spread word of the symposium to organization members.

Having the county buy from local businesses is part of the chamber’s purchase locally initiative, which the organization and county worked on together.

“It’s important from the county’s perspective because the more investment that can be reinvested in the community, all the better,” McCoy said.

“They’re not trying to give anybody an advantage over everyone else, they’re just trying to help folks understand the process better so they can put the best business argument together.”

Kukarola said the county makes thousands of purchases each year, including medical equipment, janitorial supplies, geotechnical items, engineering services and a myriad of other things.

With several contracts about to expire, Kukarola said the timing of the symposium is ideal.

“We want open and fair competition,” she said. “The more people that will work with us and do business with us, I think will get us better services and better pricing.

“Forsyth County government is part of their community as well.”