Business Expo offers chance to network

November 07, 1997

Business Expo offers chance to network


Staff Writer

Strolling through the wide aisles between booths at the Quad State Business Exposition Thursday, Janet Burger said she was glad organizers moved the event to a larger space this year.

"It's not as cramped as it was, so it's really nice," said Burger, a paralegal for the law firm of Day & Schneider in Hagerstown, who said she comes to the expo every year to see what area businesses have to offer her firm.

The 13-year-old event - sponsored by six Tri-State-area chambers of commerce - traditionally has been at the Ramada Inn Convention Center on Dual Highway, said Fred Teeter Jr., executive vice president of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce.


After booth space sold out last year with 96 exhibitors, organizers decided to move the event to Hagerstown Junior College's Athletic, Recreation & Community Center to allow for larger booths and more exhibitors, Teeter said.

The extra space didn't result in more exhibitors - only 85 signed up this year.

But any drop in revenue won't take away from the event's main purpose, which is to serve as a forum for promoting members' products and services, Teeter said.

The majority of exhibitors are always businesses that provide goods and services to other businesses, he said.

As in previous years, exhibitors came from Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

They ranged from perennial participants, like Manpower Staffing Services in Hagerstown, to newcomers, like Reliable Office Technologies Corp. in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Margaret Rhoads, branch manager of Manpower Staffing Services, said she was pleased to see the good mix of different businesses, including non-profit organizations.

Non-profits ranged from Hagerstown Community Rescue Service to SCORE, the Service Corps Of Retired Executives.

"It's great exposure, not so much to the people who come through as to the other exhibitors. All of the exhibitors network with each other, find out what's new," Rhoads said.

It was the first year Reliable Office Technologies Corp. took a booth at the event, but it probably won't be the last, said Mark Monnett, a marketing representative for the company in Washington County.

"We haven't had a whole lot of presence here," said Monnett, who said the company saw the expo as a good way to increase exposure in the area.

Based on the positive responses he was getting, including a lot of inquiries on Xerox's new digital copiers, Monnett said he expects to see results in sales over the coming weeks and months.

Day & Schneider doesn't get a booth at the expo, Burger said.

But the firm sends representatives every year to shop around for its business needs, she said.

"We're just coming in to see what the community offers. We use a lot of services," said Burger, who said the firm found its Internet provider, Intrepid Technologies, at the expo two years ago.

It's an annual event for Kim Lewis, who said she sees the expo as an opportunity to visit with current clients and make contacts with potential new ones.

"It's panned out a few times, sure," said Lewis, who sells advertising for a Frederick, Md., radio station.

This year's event was sponsored by the chambers of commerce of Hagerstown-Washington County; Chambersburg, Pa.; Waynesboro, Pa; Greencastle-Antrim Township, Pa.; Mercersburg, Pa.; and Martinsburg-Berkeley County, W.Va.

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