By BRETT DUNLAP
Parkersburg News and Sentinel
PARKERSBURG – The community came out Monday evening to see what area businesses had to offer at the 2015 Business Expo.
Hundreds of people attended the expo where around 60 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.
”I was pleasantly surprised by the number of new businesses to the expo who had a booth this year,” said Jill Parsons, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid- Ohio Valley. ”We have several new faces here tonight that are manning booths and meeting with other businesses. They are seeing the value in doing this.”
Businesses and organizations at the expo represented a mixture of commercial businesses, nonprofit agencies and organizations offering a variety of services and programs in the Parkersburg area, from small businesses, health care, non-profits, banks and real estate.
”It is a nice mixture of small businesses, large employers and business to business,” Parsons said. ”This is one of the largest events the chamber has for bringing chamber members together. For people to be out, to be seen and to network this is that large event for everyone.”
Keith McClung of Crown Event Rentals was one of the businesses that set up a booth.
”We are a sponsor of the event,” he said. ”It is just a great way to network with fellow chamber members. We have the added benefit of the community coming through to see what we all have.”
The expo allows businesses to be able to pick up new clients and reconnect with people they have done business with in the past.
”I am strictly here for the networking,” McClung said.
David Williams of Managers Resource Group Inc. did not have a booth at the expo, but attended, as a chamber member, to interact with the representatives of many local businesses.
”We really wanted to meet people and see what some of the other businesses in the area have,” Williams said.
The business, which specializes in skills and leadership training and organizational development, is new to the area after Williams returned following some time away.
”Any time we can get together and find out what other businesses in town do, we can learn about folks we can work with,” he said.
Fairlawn Baptist Church of Parkersburg, which had a booth at the expo, was looking to reach and engage people throughout the community.
”We want to be a good community partner,” said Pastor Greg Varndell. ”We want to give back to our community and we want them to know that we are here for them. We are not just some place to come on Sunday; we are available to families in the community seven days a week.”
Pat McDonald of Washington, W.Va., is the church historian for Fairlawn and was at the expo to chronicle the church’s involvement. She got a chance to go out on the floor and interact with exhibitors at the show.
”I think it is very well set up and serves the purpose of why it is here,” she said. ”It really gets people interested in different businesses. It looks like to me, it really works.”
Randy Shillingburg of Basement Systems of West Virginia from Clarksburg had a booth set up at the expo. The company does basement, waterproofing, crawl spaces and foundation work.
He thought the show was great as it provided him an opportunity to meet with other vendors and contractors who work in the Parkersburg area.
”It is great to be able to meet the public,” Shillingburg said. ”We do a lot of business in Parkersburg and have a lot of great customers here. We are in Parkersburg just about every day.”
Will Romine of Parkersburg said he has been to the expo regularly over the past few years. He was looking to see what local businesses were offering.
”It was a great networking opportunity,” said Shannan Shaulis, sales and marketing director for CAS Cable. ”We felt like we made a lot of connections here.”
The company will continue to participate in future chamber events because of the awareness these events bring to the company, she said.
Parkersburg News and Sentinel Advertising Director Matt Tranquill, who served as chairman of the 2015 Business Expo, said organizers were happy with the great turnout Monday evening.
”The Parkersburg News and Sentinel is proud to be a part of marketing our local business community in print, online and with special community functions like the Business Expo,” he said.
”It has been an amazing turnout,” Parsons said. ”We are happy with the diversity of the crowd. There is a great mixture of chamber members and other people from the business community who have stopped by.”
“Local organizations meet with public at 2015 Business Expo” 28 Apr 2015: