COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL)— Thursday night, folks from across the Fountain City made it out in the rain to shop local as The Columbus Convention and Trade Center hosted their 2nd annual Sip and Shop event that’s all about supporting local businesses.

More than 400 people shopped the booths that lined the Trade Center’s North/Center Hall.

“The biggest thing that this event is doing is raising awareness. That’s one thing we cannot forget about, for citizens of Columbus to know that they can shop local 24/7,” Executive Director of the Columbus Convention and Trade Center Hayley Tillery said.

During the first Sip and Shop, the Trade Center brought in just over 15 vendors. This year that number nearly doubled. For many local businesses, events like these provide a place for them to materialize outside of their online storefront.

“The Sip and Shop is a great opportunity for me to give my business more exposure. I am mainly online, Facebook, I don’t reach the masses on Facebook. This gives me the opportunity to get in front of people that I don’t normally reach,” Owner of Blush 427 Rhonda Brown said.

For others, it’s an opportunity to share with the community what they have to offer.

“I love getting to meet all the people that come there. You never see the same faces. So, you get to meet people that you would never meet otherwise and people who might not know about your store, you know, who might not be able to go to a storefront, get to meet you at events like this,” Owner of Peach Pups Mallory Carpenter said.

Many vendors who attended last year’s event like Kym English, owner of Sissy Boutique, and Sydney Helms, owner of Sydney’s Shoppe of Beauty and The Sydney Brand say the Trade Center’s Sip and Shop brought in new clientele.

“It’s just gaining exposure for us, and helping us meet potential customers in Columbus, Phenix City, and the surrounding areas,” English said.

“Plenty of people come in and they say, ‘oh we saw you at the Sip and Shop,’ and with so many women here, we just like to bring brand awareness,” Helms said.

More than 35 vendors came out all from across the Chattahoochee Valley, some even as far as Birmingham, Alabama. An inclusive list of the vendors can be found below.

Uptown Nail & Beauty
Oh Indy Boutique
Mulberry Hive
Sissy Boutique
Caycie’s Boutique
Sassy Dogs Boutique
The Urban Native
Davis & Dora
Sydney’s Shoppe of Beauty
Suncatchers Boutique
If It Makes You Jewels
Blush 427
Boutique by Flower Cart
Hospitium Design
Uptown Exclusives
Peach Pups
Simply Rollick
The Southern Pearl Boutique
Wired by ALP
The Mint Julep Boutique
Tuli Rita
Howdy Girl Boutique
Iris & Jade Boutique
Fringe Hair & Makeup Studio
West Point Essentials
Brandi Fine Designs
LuXury House of HERfashion
Rhi’s Collections
Boutique West Harmony
Wanderlust Designs Jewelry
Common Link Permanant Jewelry
Happy Heart Hype House