Organizers offer free admission to Business Expo

PARKERSBURG – The Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley will hold its 2013 Business Expo on March 4 at the E.L.I.T.E. Center in Parkersburg and this year the admission is free.

Organizers are hoping to surpass last year’s participation with new and returning businesses setting up booths and displays to highlight the businesses and services available in the Parkersburg area.

More than 60 vendors have signed up as of mid-February, according to chamber President/CEO Jill Parsons.

The business expo will serve as an opportunity for area businesses to network with each other and also highlight what each has to offer to the general public as well.

The event will be divided into two parts. The first part is 4-6 p.m. for chamber members only, serving as a joint expo and Business After Hours activity for the members, Parsons said.

The expo will be open to the general public from 6-8 p.m. In a change from last year’s event, Parsons said there will be no admission charged for the public part of the expo.

Matt Tranquill, advertising director for The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, said each booth will be giving a prize for drawings worth $25 each.

“We will be drawing throughout the night starting at the Business After Hours, sponsored by The News and Sentinel,” said Tranquill, who is chairing the event for the third year.

“I am excited that we as a chamber have opened the Expo to the public for free from 6-8 p.m. This will give our exhibitors not only the chance to showcase their business to other businesses, but also to the general public. To my knowledge this is the only free trade show of its kind in the area,” he said.

Parsons agrees with the goal of providing more exposure for the chamber’s members and businesses.

“The Chamber Business Expo is just that – an opportunity for our local business community to promote your business, your services and your talented team to members of the chamber of commerce as well as the general public,” she said.

“Businesses and organizations are encouraged to set up booths, displays and demonstrations to showcase your organization. Sign up new customers, sell items, invite current customers to stop by and get a special coupon. Spend time talking with other business representatives,” Parsons said.

“This event is also open to those businesses that have not yet joined the chamber – we would encourage you to participate and see how involvement with the chamber can help grow your business,” Parsons said.

The deadline for vendors to buy a booth for this year’s event is Wednesday. To buy a booth, contact Amy Hupp, News and Sentinel marketing manager, at 304-485-1891, Ext. 345. The sponsors to date are Crown Event Rental, Pepsi Beverages Co., Results Radio, E.L.I.T.E. Sports Center and The News and Sentinel.

“The goal of the Business Expo is to promote local businesses,” Parsons said. “It is set up with the format that chamber members can find out more about other chamber members and other business in the Mid-Ohio Valley.”