JOPLIN — Area businesses are gearing up for the 21st annual Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce's Business Expo, held Tuesday, Jan. 22, and Wednesday, Jan. 23, at Holiday Inn Convention Center.
"Business Expo is from noon until 8 p.m. Tuesday and that is business day, open to members of the business community only and you must have a business card to present to show for entry," said Kirstie Smith, communication director for the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce. "That evening from 5-8 p.m., that is Expo After Hours. There will be a silent auction going on to raise funds for our foundation. Then on Wednesday, it is open to the public, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with $5 admission, children under the age of 5 are free."
There will be 200 exhibitors at the event.
"Every category under the sun will be at the expo," Smith said. "We have the health systems are there, the schools and universities are always there, there are retail establishments, lots of the restaurants there, newspapers, magazines, fitness clubs, anything that you could find in the Joplin area we probably have a representative of. We have business members from all over the area, the entire region at business expo. It is a great opportunity on the business day for other businesses to see what services our local businesses provide. Of course, we want everybody to look to our neighbors first to provide services and goods and this is a great way to pull all of those people into one place."
The expo also has advantages for individuals.
"It lets them know about some things that they maybe didn't know existed here," Smith said. "If they are looking to maybe start a business, this gives them a great look at what is already here and where there might be some needs and their business could fit in. And, of course, the chamber helps start up businesses every day."
This year's theme is "Joplin Rocks & Our Future is on a Roll."
"Obviously there is so much going on here post-tornado," Smith said. "Great things are happening all over our area. We are all anxious to see what the future holds as we rebuild from the tornado. It is a good time to look at what we have and look forward to what is coming in the future."
As people walk around the expo, they can ask questions to the representatives, sign up for giveaways and also pick up useful marketing tools such as pens, notepads and other items.
"Those are always popular," Smith said. "Those are great marketing tools for businesses. People like those giveaways, but those are powerful marketing tools. If you pick up a pen off of your desk and that happens to ring a bell and you remember that you visited with that company at business expo, they might be able to fit a need that you personally have or your business has."
Page 2 of 2 - The event draws between 5,000 to 6,000 people.
"We invite everyone to come," Smith said.
For more information, please call 624-4150.