By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Business Expo is Wednesday
Event is 'going to be a hit'
Patrick Garrett, left, and Andy McDonald talk about their company’s services during last year's expo. - photo by File photo
At a glance

• The Business Expo 2009-Your Passport to Success is set for 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Pinecrest Academy,
955 Peachtree Parkway.

• Business After Hours will run in conjunction with the expo from 5 to 7 p.m.

• The expo is $20 for chamber members and $25 for non-members. Speed networking is free, but those wishing to participate must register in advance.

• Participants are encouraged to park at Shiloh Point Elementary School, 8145 Majors Road. A shuttle service will run from the elementary school to the expo.

• For more information, call (770) 887-6461 or go online at

It has grown every year, but next week’s Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce business expo is the largest by far.

Set for Wednesday at Pinecrest Academy, the Business Expo 2009-Your Passport to Success will feature 99 vendors, up from 32 last year.

The expo pairs with the chamber’s monthly Business After Hours, a social networking event in which the nearby Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce will also participate.

“In any type of economy it’s probably good to get people together, but in an economy that’s still trending back up ... anything that we can do to foster new business developments, particularly with relationship building, is going to be a good thing,” said Brian Dill, the local chamber’s vice president of economic development.

Dill said the economy has fueled interest in networking, but businesses have also been drawn to the chamber’s new event lineup.

Among the biggest changes is the addition of two speed-networking sessions.

During each session, a group of 50 participants will get to share information about their business to the other 49 group members on a one-on-one basis.

The speed-networking has been a huge draw, Dill said.

“It’s just going to be more interactive than what we’ve done in the past,” he said. “It’s really going to put folks face to face in a business development opportunity that we have not tried before. And that’s one of those things that in a down economy we’re trying to think outside of the box with.”

Evan Profeta with State Farm Insurance has participated in the expo since its inception four years ago.

But this year “in particular, is looking like it’s going to be a pretty big event,” Profeta said.

“We’re pretty excited about it. We get a lot out of interacting with other business owners and that’s what we most look forward to,” he said. “It’s always been a great event for us.”

Tony Casteel, marketing manager for Network Solutions, appears to have picked a good year to attend the expo.

The expo will be a great introduction for the Web design, developing and hosting company, which expanded into the Forsyth area about seven months ago.

“We’re developing a relationship, so that’s a huge help to us,” he said. “We’re going to get acquainted with a lot of new business owners that we’re not currently getting acquainted with.

“Our expectation is that we will generate good public awareness of what we do, and obviously we hope to also generate some sales from it.”

The expo, sponsored by the Forsyth County News, shifts to Pinecrest after two years at West Forsyth High School.

The change in venue, Dill said, allows business access to south Forsyth.

Rieva Lesonsky is the event’s guest speaker.

Lesonsky is the chief executive officer of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in small businesses and entrepreneurship.

She has authored several books about entrepreneurship and is an active blogger in the business community.

For the second year in a row, the event also includes the chamber’s monthly Business After Hours.

“The whole day is going to be filled with tremendous opportunities,” Dill said. “I think it’s going to be a hit.”