Business expo continues to growPublished 6:48pm Thursday, June 6, 2013
When the idea of starting a trade show in the Niles-Buchanan area was brought up four years ago, some were skeptical it could work.
Four years later, the EXPOsing Greatness business expo has not only proven the skeptics wrong, it has helped area businesses thrive.
“A lot of people don’t know who we are, and I still get that from some people,” said Scott Shively, account manager for Michiana Recycling and Disposal Services in Niles. “It (EXPOsing Greatness) is a great way for us to let people know what we do, and it especially is good for pushing our recycling services.
“We’ve gotten a few new customers from it, residential and commercial, over the years.”
Thursday’s expo was held, for the first time, in the Niles High School gymnasium. It was held previously at Lake Michigan College’s Bertrand Campus, which had only a capacity for 65 booths, according to Barbara Craig, expo coordinator.
“We had to turn people away last year,” Craig said.
Thursday’s expo had a record 70 booths, ranging from banks and credit unions to schools, nursing homes, restaurants and salons. The first expo featured 45 booths, the second around 60 and the third 65.
Craig isn’t surprised by the growth.
“People just weren’t used to thinking about what cool things we have going on right out our front door,” Craig said. “Exposing greatness means just reminding people of all the cool stuff that is happening locally. I think people are beginning to see there’s value here.”
Craig said the plan is to rotate the expo between Niles High School and Buchanan High School from year to year.
Brown Funeral Home, of Niles, has had a booth at the expo all four years.
“It’s an opportunity for us to interact with community members, families that we’ve serviced and, also, many of the business leaders that we work with in our community,” said Tim Brown, of Brown Funeral Home. “It’s a way to reconnect with them to see how we can serve our community together.”
Any money made at the expo is going toward three $1,000 scholarships for each of the area schools: Brandywine, Buchanan and Niles.