PARKERSBURG - The community came out Monday evening to see what area businesses had to offer at the 2013 Business Expo.
About 76 businesses and organizations had booths set up at the E.L.I.T.E. Sports Center in south Parkersburg to promote their products, services and facilities to the public and other businesses.
Nearly 700 people attended the expo, said Jill Parsons, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley. The Parkersburg News and Sentinel was one of the sponsors of the event.
Lisa Corbitt of the Nutrition Pit answers a nutrition supplement question from Chris Waggoner during Monday's Business Expo. (Photo by Jeff Baughan)
''We are really pleased with the attendance tonight,'' she said. ''We had great support from the business community to attend and participate with having a booth as well as the people who came to learn more about our business community from both the public and our chamber members.
''As soon as it opened to the general public, wow, a ton of folks came in for that part. It has been continuous people coming in,'' she said.
The first part of Monday's event was for local businesses to interact and make contacts among themselves. The remainder was open to the general public to interact with the businesses.
Vendors included nonprofit organizations and businesses dealing with health care, roofing, golf, transportation, retail, banks, automotive and windows.
''We have had a nice mixture of booths,'' Parsons said.
The Community Bank booth saw several people wanting to talk banking services, said Mary Barnett, vice president of Community Bank.
''Things are going really well,'' she said. ''Tonight we feel like it has been a very nice turnout and we have had a lot of conversations.''
The big topic with many people was interest rates, which have been low for a while, Barnett said.
''We have had several conversations about mortgage loan rates today so we will see what happens,'' she said. ''We are very happy with the turnout tonight. I am glad we are here.''
Doug Kreinik of Kreinik Manufacturing said people are surprised to see its products are manufactured in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
Kreinik showed the company's materials, like a new reflective yarn it makes, and made friendship bracelets for people who brought their children to the expo.
''It is a great idea to have an event like this for the community and I wish there were more businesses here,'' Kreinik said. ''It is the only business to business function we have in Parkersburg. I think it is really important.''
Matt Tranquill, advertising director for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel, said the expo was a chance for businesses to come together and reach new customers.
''The newspaper takes great pride in partnering with the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley and giving our business partners even more ways to reach their customer base,'' he said.
Sandy and George Hall of Wood County said they visit a lot of events like this one.
''I love expos,'' Sandy said. ''We go all over the place.
''It is like trick-or-treat for adults. It is just fun. It is an excuse to get out and exercise because you really have to get out and walk around. There is always candy and there is food. It is just a nice evening out.''
George was a general contractor before he retired. They like to see some of the people he has known for years.
''We also like to see the new products that are out and keeping up with what is going on,'' he said.
''We like to keep our finger on the pulse and know what is going on,'' Sandy said. ''There was a lot of things going on.''
Lois Moore of Mineral Wells attended last year's show and wanted to see the expo's products this year.
''We really enjoyed it,'' she said. ''We are just looking at the different businesses and seeing what is available.''
Parsons said she hopes the public realizes the mixture of businesses available in this community and that there are great resources here for all types of products and services. Businesses that do business with other businesses can make valuable contacts at the expo, she said.
Businesses rely on the public for the majority of their business, Parsons said.
''They are making that connection,'' Parsons said. ''It may not be a service or a product that person needs at that particular moment, but you hope by visiting with them that the next time they need that service or product, they can say 'Hey, I met that team at the Business Expo and I need that service and I should go and support that business.'''