EATON — The Preble County Chamber of Commerce Business Expo broke attendance records this past weekend, with an unofficial total of approximately 1,200 visitors. The annual event was held from Friday, April 12 through Saturday, April 13 and featured 104 businesses.
According to PC Chamber Executive Director Leslie Collins, businesses included everything from small local ones to large factories like Silfex.
“That’s a huge variety of businesses and organizations! It didn’t matter whether you were looking for farm supplies, lawn and garden services or equipment, new windows, comfortable fashion — or a she-shed (or man cave) to hide out in. You could connect with an area business to find out more,” she said.
“You could even learn more about educational institutions for all ages: Edison State Community College and Indiana University East, Miami Valley Career Technical Center and even Head Start were on hand.”
Collins added, the Business Expo has become the Preble County Chamber’s signature event. For the second year in a row, it’s grown to the point where they had to turn potential exhibitors away and start a waiting list.
“Hopefully in 2020 we can make an even bigger splash and expand into the new Expo Building addition, possibly for our food vendors and fun things like the inflatable bounce houses,” she said.
“The better we make the Expo, the more participation we’ll get from area businesses and that means we’ll drive more people to attend. That’s our goal, year over year, and we think we’re making great strides in increasing attendance by making the Expo more family-friendly.
“With great activities for the kids and more options for lunch, dinner and snacks, it’s a cheap way to spend some time learning more about Preble County and what we have to offer. It also drives people to the Preble County Fairgrounds, which is an important hub of activity for the county. The more people we can bring in, the more money our local businesses make. It’s a win-win all the way around.”
Proceeds from the Expo fund chamber operations, and all the marketing and promotions it does for member businesses.
Food vendors included Funky Fusion Foods, Buckeye Jake’s, Bratt Tasties, Farm Fresh Catering, 1808 Cafe and Homestead Bakery.
Grand sponsors for this year’s Expo included Reid Health, Prograde Excavation & Demolition, Kettering Health, Preble County Safety Council, Premier Health and Wallace Heating & Air.
Expo sponsors included Eagle Fence Construction, Boone Power Equipment, Koenig Equipment, Larkin Cobb Chevrolet Buick GMC, the Preble County Development Partnership, New Paris Area Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Preble County Sheriff’s Office.
Event sponsors included GMT Roofing, Lowman Heating & Air, Preble County Power Equipment & Rental, Somerville National Bank, Brubaker Grain, The Greenbriar Campus and Opti-Vise IT.
“No event with so many moving parts goes off without a couple hiccups, and we had ours – like the Expo Building not having enough power on the wall for our expanded food vendor selection – but with the help of Dale Noland from Prestige Entertainment Unlimited and Gillman’s Home Center, we were able to find a solution and were up and running in time for opening on Friday,” Collins said.
“I personally would like to thank Tim Gebhart, our Expo Committee Chair, for his tireless dedication to handling logistics and lots of the on-the-spot Expo heavy lifting, Jeff Sewert and his staff from the Village of Lewisburg for all their work, Reid Health’s Chrissy Messenger for everything she helped out with this year, and Laura Bailey from Kicks96 for her hard work as well. It takes a team, and to Chamber Secretary Virginia Lindsey and all those who helped out in some way, I say thank you.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH