FORSYTH COUNTY -- Nearly 60 businesses took part in the 2014 Business Expo on Wednesday at Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center.
The annual event, which was put on by the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce and title sponsor the Forsyth County News, also drew more than 400 spectators for an afternoon of networking and learning about products and services available through the local business community.
Folks arrived a little before 1 p.m., when the event began, and stayed through 6 p.m., when an Expo After Hours event wrapped up.
Jason Mock, director of the chamber’s Small Business Services Center, said the event seemed to be a hit.
“Everything’s going great,” he said about halfway through the afternoon. “We ended up with 58 vendors out here, so that’s a good turnout. And we’ve had people steadily walking through the doors this afternoon.”
Mock said both the participants and spectators seemed to enjoy the layout, which was different and featured an open area in the middle of the room with tables for better networking.
“We’ve heard great compliments about the openness of it, which allows people to see more of each other and network a little bit more,” Mock said. “Hopefully, this has allowed people to better grow their businesses and be more successful in our community.”
Vendors seemed to enjoy themselves. Nick Kastner, a representative of the University of North Georgia, said the expo had given him the opportunity to share more about the college’s master of business administration degree available at the Cumming campus on Aquatic Circle.
“A lot of people don’t even know that we have a campus in Forsyth County … and we have one of the leading MBA programs in north Georgia right here in Cumming … we wanted people to know about that,” he said.
Similarly, Jenny Butler with Bright Star, a home care business that recently moved its offices from Gainesville to Cumming, said she wanted to have a chance to network.
“We’ve gone around and visited all of the [vendors] because they might not have been able to get away,” she said. “We’ve made a lot of good contacts.
“I think there’s a great variety of people from all different industries here, so that’s cool. It’s good to meet people and put some faces with some names.”
Yolanda Nabors with Georgia Highlands Medical Services also wanted to attend to provide more information about her company.
“We wanted to come out today to bring awareness to the community about our services,” she said. “We’re a family practice with pediatrics and OB. We’re a community health center, so not only do we take insured patients but we also take uninsured patients, offering a sliding scale fee schedule, which a lot of places don’t do.”
Nabors said Georgia Highlands has taken part in previous expos and it’s always beneficial to “get to share with other businesses.”
“You can walk around and people are interested in what you have, and in turn, they get to also share what they have and everyone can share information back and forth,” she said.