The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce annual business expo Thursday gave representatives from about 40 area businesses a chance to hand out gift cards, discuss their business and, most importantly, network with other area business owners.
The annual event was combined with the chamber’s annual dinner and business awards to draw more attention and interest from area businesses and residents. It also gave first-time attendees an opportunity to promote their business, while others who have attended for years had a chance to mingle and explain some of the services they provide.
This year was the first time Independents Fiber Network attended the expo, said Katie Etgen, brand manager for the company. Based in Wapakoneta, the company was established in 2003 and provides Internet services to health care and educational institutions across western Ohio. The company joined the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce late last year, and the expo was a chance to make new connections in the area, Etgen said.
“Springfield is a viable area for us, so we thought it was important that we be here,” she said.
For other businesses, the expo was a chance to have fun with other conference attendees and meet with other business owners in the area. Several attendees gathered at a booth hosted by LWS Certified Public Accountants, as the company offered a competition to win gift cards and toss a basketball. The company has attended the expo for about five years, said Mike Fissel, a partner in the company. The business offers tax preparation and accounting services for both corporate and individual clients.
“It’s part of the culture of our office,” Fissel said. “We’re not the typical accounting firm.”
The games and prizes are an effective way to bring more attention to a business, said Chris Schutte, director of marketing for the chamber. Overall, he said 40 businesses attended, and 375 guests had registered to attend the chamber dinner immediately following the expo.
“That’s good marketing,” Schutte said. “I think there are people that do that really well at this event.”
The important thing is to get businesses owners together and promote the services that are available here, Schutte said. The chamber also offered a drawing for a 50-inch flat-screen television for visitors who visited at least 15 booths.
Schutte said the expo is one of the largest of its kind in the region.
Focus on jobs
The Springfield News-Sun is committed to covering area business and the economy in Clark and Champaign counties. The paper will continue to cover local businesses as they try to add jobs and expand locally.