More than 100 companies doing business in the East Valley will be on hand at the annual East Valley Business Expo on Wednesday at the Mesa Convention Center.
The networking event, which is open to the public, helps local businesses forge relationships with each other, as well as promote their businesses to East Valley residents. It is a collaboration of the chambers of commerce in Tempe, Gilbert, Mesa, and Chandler, and the East Valley Tribune.
Gilbert Chamber of Commerce business development director Marty Tomljenovic said having the four chambers work together helps create “the biggest networking event in the East Valley.”
Sean Barry, director of communications at Mesa’s Chamber of Commerce, said the partnership stimulates the business community and promotes the Valley’s economic development.
“There’s no other place you can go where you’re going to have that many people that you can network with,” Barry said.
Both Barry and Tomljenovic said this event has been a success in the past, with testimonials from East Valley businesses stating they increased their business and partnerships. Many businesses return to the expo every year, and there are newcomers, as well.
Kathleen Wulfert, co-owner of Themers, a special event planning company based in Mesa, will be at the East Valley Business Expo this year. She said Themers has participated in other business expos, which have always been positive for the company.
“There are so many businesses that we don’t even know are out there that can help each other out,” Wulfert said.
Local business owners and the public can go from booth to booth to learn what each business offers.
“It’s the best way to connect with potential customers and clients in a really short amount of time in one location,” said Sean Donovan, vice president of media and program development for the Tempe Chamber of Commerce.
Representatives of GreenLoop IT solutions, out of Tempe, attended the expo in the past, when it was previously known as Sindel. New ownership is looking to use the East Valley event to further establish the company’s new brand.
Peter Wheary, president of GreenLoop IT Solutions, said the expo will allow him to learn about the frustrations small- and medium-sized Valley businesses are experiencing with their technology and how his company can provide a solution. Wheary said his company will use the expo to build relationships, which is “the critical part of the partnership that we have with all of our clients.”
For the first time, the nonprofit Friends for Life Animal Rescue will attend the East Valley Business Expo to reach outside its normal animal-oriented events. The organization wants to spread awareness of its activities and interact with community members, said Kelly Mixer, Friends for Life’s volunteer public relations director.
“(The) East Valley is our community,” Mixer said. “That’s where we do all our work, that’s where we do all of our rescues, that’s where most of our adoptions take place.”
Although the expo is primarily a business-to-business event, the public is invited to attend for free. All that’s needed to enter is a business card.
Music, free food from area restaurants like Texas Roadhouse, Buffalo Wild Wings, Cracker Barrel, and Famous Dave’s, door prizes and individual exhibitor giveaways and raffles are not the only reasons for the public to attend. The expo provides the opportunity for community members to discover local businesses and what they do.
“The public should go just to find out what’s in (their) neighborhood and how (they) can be keeping their dollars at home,” Tomljenovic said.