Community presence to be Expo’s focus

Published 10:20 am Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Crowds fill the aisles at the 2012 Chamber Business Expo at the Regional Development Workforce Center at Paul D. Camp Community College. More than 600 people are estimated to have attended. -- FILE PHOTO

Crowds fill the aisles at the 2012 Chamber Business Expo at the Regional Development Workforce Center at Paul D. Camp Community College. More than 600 people are estimated to have attended. — FILE PHOTO

FRANKLIN—The Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce Expo has long since evolved from small displays at a business after hours to become a popular and more populated event.

“One community, one economy” is the theme for this year’s Expo. The free event is scheduled for 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, and will take place in the Regional Workforce Development Center at Paul D. Camp Community College, 100 College Drive, Franklin.

Teresa Beale, executive director of the chamber, said that at the start, businesses were catering to one another. As it grew, the expo found homes at E.J.’s Landing and the country club, before settling at the workforce center about 12 years ago. Also along the way, the public was being encouraged to see what area businesses and industries have to offer in the way of goods and services.

“Last year it was full the whole time,” said Beale, who figured more than 600 guests attended then. “It’s a good way to meet the businesses one-on-one and even visit your neighbors. It’s a good community event.”

More than 50 vendors will be featured to offer shopping and eating. Mary’z Café, Southern Sisters and The Village at Woods Edge will prepare food to be eaten in or taken out.

Southampton Memorial Hospital, one of the event sponsors, will present “Meet the Doctors.”“Dr. Manish Patel will be at Expo to talk about services he can render,” said Kim Marks, director of marketing at SMH. “He’s also inviting the public to his open house, which will be from 2:30 to 4:30 Thursday, Dec. 19.”

Patel, she added, is an orthopedic surgeon. His practice and the hospital’s rehabilitation services are going to have a separate space on the campus.

“Dr. David Diep, the new general surgeon who started in July, will be on hand to meet the public,” continued Marks. “There’ll be various other primary care physicians, including Dr. Donald Bowling, the hospital’s chief of staff; he has a practice at Courtland Medical Center.”

Blood pressure screenings, information on the Affordable Care Act, and a way to sign up residents will also be made available for visitors, she said.

Flu shots will be offered, but that will come from someone else, said Marks.

“I think is going to be a really nice feature,” said Beale about meeting doctors at the Expo. “It’s a neutral setting.”

She wants to remind guests they can search for unclaimed property in Virginia at the event, and it could prove to their benefit.

“A couple of years ago, they found $500 for someone [at the Expo] and even $200 for the Chamber,” Beale said. “That’s really some shopping money.”

Speaking of money, visitors will have opportunities to win door prizes, including a raffle for a $500 gift certificate from Norfolk International for any airline it serves.

“It’s a really exciting prize,” she said, and added that chances cost $5 apiece or five for $20, and the drawing will be at end of the event.

Guests can participate in a game of trivia questions, and win a $25 gift card if all questions are answered correctly. All who attend can also vote for their favorite booth for free. Each attendee has a chance to enter to win up to four hours chauffeured by Lancelot Limo in either its 32-foot-long limousine or a Jaguar XJ8 sedan.

A Shutter Booth will enable people to have their picture taken as a souvenir.

From 1 to 3 p.m. before the Expo, people interested in learning more about social media sources are invited to attend the presentation by Ed Sykes of the Sykes Group from Norfolk. This workshop will be in the Technology Theater at the center.

Nancy Parrish of the Franklin Business Incubator said the theme will be “Facebook, Linked In and Twitter as viable marketing avenues for businesses today.”

“It’s not too late to sign up, but we do encourage people to sign up ahead of time,” she added. “The cost is zero, but the event is priceless.”

To register for this free training call 562-1958 or email For more information about the Expo, call the chamber at 562-4900 or visit