Expo puts focus on businesses

Published 8:48 am Wednesday, November 4, 2009

FRANKLIN—Plans for the annual Community Business Expo are under way and going well, according to organizers.

“It’s going to be a good mix of retail and service,” said Teresa Beale, Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce executive director.

The Expo will take place from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, at the Paul D. Camp Workforce Development Center.

Planners are hoping for dozens of booths and hundreds of community members taking advantage of seeing local businesses under one roof for a night.

Once again, Southampton Memorial Hospital will conduct free blood pressure and cholesterol screenings at the Expo.

“We are going to be set up right at the door,” said Anne Williams, SMH marketing director. “It’s a great event for us. We have people who come to this every year to get their screenings done. Invariably we will have will have one or two people whose cholesterol is high who didn’t know it.”

The hospital also will have another booth focused on its Healthy Woman program.

Other local vendors include Franklin’s Alphabet Soup and Nottoway House Furniture from Courtland, as well as Rawls Museum Arts, Farm Fresh, Wal-Mart and Southern Charm Garden Center. Every booth will offer a door prize.

“If businesses are interested in learning more about how to participate, they can call us,” she said.

Mo Canada and Common Ground, an acoustic trio, will play from 5 to 7 p.m.

“We will also wonderful food from Pace House Inn and Southern Sisters,” Beale said.

Beale said there are still a few booths available.

The chamber also will tout its community cards, a partnership with Bronco Federal Credit Union, and reveal the newest “shop local” slogan.

“That’s going to be a good shot in the arm for the community,” Beale said. “We need to stay together and be together to see what our community has to offer.”

New this year will be social media sessions in a computer lab with Tom Powell from the Addison Group in Suffolk and Tim Bradshaw from Bradshaw-Kimbrel Technology Group in Franklin. The free sessions will focus on social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.

“They will be very hands-on sessions,” Beale said. “(Participants) will be able to create accounts while they are there.”

Williams said the Expo is a good way to put the focus on good news from area businesses.

“Hopefully a lot of people will come out and enjoy getting their minds off other things,” she said. “Leave your cares at the door for a little while.”

The atmosphere helps, she added.

“People are excited to see each other,” Williams said. “It’s a real upbeat event. We look forward to it every year.”