Chamber hosts business expo

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- Dozens of area businesses took an opportunity Thursday to gather in one place to reach out to the public.

The Albany Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its 2010 Business Showcase at the Darton College Student Center on Thursday evening.

Providing businesses with the chance to connect in the same place at the same time is a convenience that benefits the overall community, officials said.

"The business-to-business expo is another way to provide opportunities to network and increase business opportunities in a small period of time," said Chamber CEO Catherine Glover. "We are aware of the short amount of time they have to network.

"The chamber is in business. We exist to help member businesses acquire the need to thrive, and this provides an outlet."

This is typically an annual event, but chamber officials didn't hold an expo last year because of the economic recession. Based on the response this year, it appeared the show was something the business community was highly anticipating.

"It's a tightly packed house," Chamber Events and Outreach Coordinator Meghan Duke said of the room in which the expo was being held.

Fifty-eight businesses ranging from local media outlets to health care organizations to banking institutions participated.

"I thought it was important to get exposure," Ami Mejia, president of Home Helpers of South Georgia, said at the expo. "I try to support chamber events."

Mejia also said participation in the event was vital in her ability to interact with other business leaders in the area. "I'm learning about other businesses," she said. "It's an opportunity to learn what's out in the community."

Gina Kukura, workshop manager at Easter Seals Southern Georgia, said the organization decided to participate after its marketing agency recommended it -- and they did not regret it.

"We've had a lot of people come up (to the booth)," she said at the event. "We are also helping other companies out; everyone is feeding off of everybody.

L. Alan Greer, owner of Cartridge World, said he was also impressed by the response.

"Participation is good; there is a lot of the business community involved in the event," he said roughly 30 minutes into the expo.

"We're getting a lot of good leads. There are a lot of folks interested in our products. This gives us a good opportunity to get in front of people that are hard to get an appointment with."

Greer also felt the participants were helping each other gain exposure.

"There's a synergy," he said. "It has a multiplier effect."

The chamber also teamed up with the American Red Cross to host a blood drive until 7 p.m. at the student center the day of the event.

The expo was sponsored by The Albany Herald, WSWG-TV, Palmyra Medical Center, Cumulus, MillerCoors and WALB-TV.