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Expo draws record number of exhibitors

By Mike Elswick
May 1, 2012 at 11 p.m.

The floor of Longview's Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center was turned into a marketplace Tuesday, with a cross-section of services and goods offered by businesses throughout the city on display.

From locksmiths to banking and printing services, the exhibitors at Business Expo 2012 covered a lot of bases. The expo was the draw for the largest turnout of vendors in the event's history, according to Ashley Summers, chairwoman of the event.

"We have a lot of new faces among our vendors, along with a lot of standbys who have been coming for years," Summers said. "This is the biggest one ever."

She said a new addition to the event this year was a slate of several educational sessions designed to help business owners and managers increase profits and keep customers satisfied.

Kayla Richardson, community educator for HealthCare Express, said the clinic used the venue to help spread the word about the variety of services provided.

"We have so much to offer beyond just being a clinic," Richardson said. "We offer weight loss programs and occupational medicine - services the public doesn't know we have."

Richardson said HealthCare Express officials saw participation as a unique marketing opportunity.

"It's all about networking and meeting other people - this really gives us the best return on our investment," she said.

April Myers, owner of Redneck Rockstar Boutique and Salon, said the opportunity to network with the public brought her out to spread the word.

"We've only been in business about seven months and are members of the chamber of commerce," Myers said. "This is just a really good opportunity to visit with people."

Brad O'Leary, financial advisor for Merrill Lynch, said this was the first year he and the firm were represented.

"We're just here to spread the word and are very excited about it," O'Leary said.



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