TERRE HAUTE —
The inaugural 2013 Business Expo will allow both small and large businesses to demonstrate their expertise and services to the Wabash Valley.
The event, which is free to the public and will include about 40 vendors, will be from noon to 7 p.m. April 30 and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 1 at Hulman Center. Attendees can enter for a chance to win a new iPad.
The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce and the Tribune-Star are partnering on the expo, with Union Hospital as title sponsor.
“This is the Chamber of Commerce’s 100th anniversary and we thought this would be a good time to start this and it is also during Small Business Week,” said B.J. Riley, publisher of the Tribune-Star and chairman of the Chamber’s board of directors.
“Chambers are built on business-to-business opportunities and the opportunity to do business with folks that are in your own community,” Riley said. “Terre Haute has a wonderful array of businesses, both large and small, and a lot of small businesses are competitive to the big boxes, but can offer a lot better service sometimes.”
For example, SoS Techs, at 1350 Poplar St., has expanded its business model.
“The company has expanded into telephones, security systems and networking. It [the expo] is a good place to get a lot of business-to-business exposure,” said Mike Roberts, spokesman for SoS Techs.
The company, owned by Sean Gallagher, “has gone from just a repair shop now to networking, service plans, software development for specialized cases, including medical software” that meets the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act requirements, Roberts said.
Koorsen Fire and Security, at 2924 S. Indiana 63, offers residential and commercial fire and security protection. “We think the expo will allow us to meet with other businesses or with people in the community and get feedback and show them what we can provide for them,” said Ryan Hardwick, branch manager for Koorsen.
Hardwick said he thinks Terre Haute is an ideal place for a business expo.
“Expos are a good idea. I am hoping this is an annual event. I think you can gain a great deal if it is held every year as you get your name out and people get to know you,” Hardwick said.
Ken Bringle, president and CEO of the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, said the expo is planned as an annual event, with a goal of attracting businesses from all over the Wabash Valley and central and eastern Illinois.
The expo, Bringle said, is “an opportunity for our members to exhibit and present to the consuming public what their goods and services are, and gives people a chance to walk through a single location.”
Bringle said he expects to have about 1,200 people walk through the inaugural expo. Each exhibitor becomes a member of the chamber as they take part in the expo, he said. “Where else can they have over 1,000 people walk through and take a look at their goods and services at one location within a confined period of time? It really gives them a chance to focus their marketing effort.”
Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.