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Expo allows women to bond
Benefited Garden of Empowerment
Expo WEB 1
Madara Miller models a wedding dress Saturday as business owner Rachel Broach emcees during the 2011 A Woman’s Life Expo. - photo by Alyssa LaRenzie

Whether offering purses or personal finances, the some 90 vendors at the second annual “A Woman’s Life Expo” had at least one thing in common. All had either a female-focus or a woman in charge.

The event at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center brought in vendors offering a wide variety of products and services, from health and fashion to culinary arts.

Organizer Sue Wilson said about 350 people attended the event, providing the hoped-for increase from the first year’s turnout.

“Everyone had a great time,” Wilson said. “We have several exhibitors who are already booking for next year.”

The expo serves as a fundraiser for Garden of Empowerment, a nonprofit that helps separated, divorced or widowed women live life to the fullest.

Vendor Sandra Eggers said she enjoyed being a part of such a worthy cause.

During the expo, the independent consultant introduced visitors to the line of home products she sells through Biltmore Inspirations.

Meeting the other vendors and the women in attendance was the most enjoyable part, Eggers said.

Fran DiRusso, store manager of Coldwater Creek, was happy to reach such a wide variety of female clients.

DiRusso said she liked that the expo brought together a diverse group of women.

“Here, it’s about women bonding … to share experiences and help one another,” she said.

Robin Grier of Robin Grier Financial Services said she’d been talking through the whole expo, visiting with old friends and new.

She said the event provided a great forum that echoed the theme of empowering women.

“Women have their own journeys, and it’s nice to have support for the things that are unique for them,” Grier said.

Friends Betty Bell and Kim Rizzo, first-time visitors to the expo, said they were impressed with the exhibitors.

“I stayed away from the jewelry, though,” Bell said with a laugh.

The two compared what they’d come away with, including candles, books, a bracelet (in Rizzo’s bag) and more.

“I’ll definitely come back next year,” Rizzo said.