Chamber Business Expo creates possibility for businesses to increase sales, revenues

May 11, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN |
  • Dave Trostle, left, and Tony Taylor, center, of Frederick, Seibert & Associates chat with Verizon's Michael Tambaoan Friday during the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce Business Expo at Hager Hall.
By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer

Nearly 60 vendors packed Hager Hall on Friday for the Chamber Business Expo hosted by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce. 

"I'm here to meet contacts and other vendors," Hagerstown resident Jim Mills said. "We want to make contacts and shake hands."

Mills, 46, attended the expo as a member of the general public to network for his company, Cascade Management Group Inc. of Hagerstown. He said such events can be beneficial for local businesses.

"This creates a great possibility for businesses to get out, and increase sales and revenues," he said. "We want to meet new faces."

Vendors also used the event for multiple reasons.

Krystal Kennedy, sales resource manager for Centric Business Systems, said that her company was there to network with other businesses and the general public.

"We're trying to make sure the community knows we're here," Kennedy said. "We supply document and technology needs."

She said the expo will help local businesses connect in the community.

"We've already run into businesses eager to build relationships," she said. "Everybody's learning from each other."

The expo began at 10 a.m. and was scheduled to last until 5 p.m. It included educational seminars, more than $2,500 in giveaways and a keynote presentation by SkillSoft expert, Michael J. Murphy.

The public was allowed to attend for free, and many of the attendees who showed up were looking to network for their businesses.

Hagerstown resident Lee Oppenheim, 39, who works for Precision Auto Glass and Repair, said he came to make contact with other local businesses.

"It's people helping people," he said. "It's local businesses looking for other local connections that they might not be aware of."

Businesses leaders also offered seminars, including Tonya Leary, president and chief executive officer of T.S. Leary Associates and HR Consulting and Recruitment Co..

She said the event was also a great way to expand her business.

"I can do recruiting for my company," she said. "This also creates an awareness of employers thriving in the community, and the exposure will help us grow."

Private businesses were not the only vendors at the event. Hagerstown Community College provided a full education series, and Kaplan University was a vendor.

"Everyone benefits from education, directly or indirectly," said Garnet Stevens, business development manager for Kaplan. "We are out here just to get the word out about Kaplan. You never know when you could meet someone that you could help or that could help you."

Barry Martin, owner of Copyquik Printing and Graphics, said he helped to come up with the idea for the event. His business was featured at the entrance of the building.

"We haven't had an expo for a few years," Martin said. "There are a lot of chances to see what you can do to improve and market your business here."

The success of other business expos in the area also helped convince the chamber of commerce that there was a need for one in Hagerstown, according to Jill Reddecliff, director of member services for the chamber.

"We did business expos years ago, and we haven't done one for a really long time," she said. "We know there was a similar chamber event that had about 1,000 people at it, so we're hoping to at least hit that mark."

Antietam Cable was the major sponsor for the event, and Copyquik and Meritus Health were premiere booth sponsors.

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