It’s no surprise everyone brings home goodies when they attend the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce 2012 Business Expo. But it could be a hidden secret that most of the vendors they’ll meet are people who really know what they’re talking about.
This year’s Expo will prove better than the rule for those who attend Wednesday, April 4, in the Marco Island Marriott’s Grand Ballroom. Doors open at 5 p.m. with free hors d’oeurves, raffles, giveaways and a cash bar.
“Many vendor representatives are the owners or managers of their businesses, so people meet them face to face and get an opportunity to ask questions or get advice,” said Katie O’Hara, director of sales and marketing for the chamber.
From year to year, vendors return to the Expo, but new businesses are always eager to participate, said O’Hara. This year’s new vendors are Andrew Hunter Homes, Beadz ‘N Bagz (a women’s accessory store), Sandcastle Community Management, Physicians Regional Healthcare Systems and Dignity Hodges-Josberger Funeral Home. Marco Island’s Fire-Rescue Department will offer free blood pressure readings.
It seems the grand prize drawing gets bigger every year. The grand prize for 2012 will be a two-night stay at the Marriott’s Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami, a new luxury resort, said Sandi Riedemann Lazarus, executive director of the chamber. The prize can be won by anyone who attends the Expo, stops by every vendor and is present for the drawing at 7 p.m.
In addition, each vendor will be responsible for donating two prizes to be awarded throughout the two-hour period, so the odds of taking home a special item are good, she said.
Tickets for the Expo are free if participants obtain them in advance. At the door, people will need to pay a $5 entry fee. Advance tickets are available at the chamber during business hours up to the end of day before the Expo.
The Marco Island Marriott is offering complimentary parking for Expo participants and is one of the Expo’s vendors. Returning vendors include AP Builders, The Arlington, Avow Hospice, CenturyLink, Collier County’s Supervisor of Elections, Comcast, Complete Stone Management, Condee Cooling & Electric, Cruise Naples, Good Deal Appliances, Lely Palms Retirement Community, Marco Island Police Department, Marco Eagle, Sun Times, Mutual of Omaha Bank, NCH Healthcare System, Publix Grocery Stores, Sea Excursions, Skin Renewal Systems, Sunshine Tours, Sunshine Stitchers, Tuscany Villa of Naples, Vitas Innovative Hospice Care and Winn-Dixie.
New and returning vendors who are also Expo sponsors are Condee Cooling & Electric, Dignity Hodges-Josberger Funeral Home, Marco Eagle, Mutual of Omaha Bank, Physicians Regional Healthcare Systems and Winn-Dixie.
“The Expo’s great for businesses trying to get a foothold in the Marco community,” O’Hara said. “Many businesses do not have locations here but can benefit from the contacts they can make at this event.”
The Expo will continue to accept additional vendors until end of business on Monday, April 2, she said.
“This is our twelfth year and every Expo is more exciting than the last,” said Lazarus. “For 2012, the Expo’s a nice way to cap a good season for our businesses, and it’s a good way for people to find out about qualified services our vendors can provide.”