By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Networking in action
Merchants mingle at annual expo
Biz Expo 2 es
Jody VanCleft gives Danyel Wheeler a massage Wednesday at the Chamber of Commerce Business Expo at Pinecrest Academy. - photo by Emily Furtsch
It started with name recognition.

“I’ve heard about you,” Chad Taylor said.

Taylor, a local chiropractor, then swapped business information with the owner of Big Frog, Trish Moynihan.

“Do you have a card?” she asked from behind her custom T-shirt business’ booth.

Moynihan described an upcoming health fair she planned to attend and told Taylor she’d send him an e-mail about it.

With a closing “nice to meet you,” Taylor waded back out into the crowd at the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce’s annual Business Expo.

And that was networking in action.

The fifth annual chamber event Wednesday at Pinecrest Academy drew 90 exhibitors to share information and meet with other local business owners and prospective clients.

Attendance increased from about 700 people in 2009 to about 800 at this year’s expo, said Jason Mock, the chamber’s Small Business Services Center director.

All those who set up booths are chamber members, Mock said, but several visitors were non-members just taking a look around.

He said the chamber, exhibitors and sponsors, including lead sponsor the Forsyth County News, all felt the event went well and people enjoyed themselves.

“I think a lot of businesses will see success of out of this expo,” he said.

The event’s main purpose is networking, something Mock saw quite a bit of yesterday.

Moynihan, who lucked out with a booth up front, said she’d seen so many people, she hadn’t been able to visit other vendors.

For those who did have the opportunity to browse the booths, many joined the steady stream of visitors at Discover Chiropractic & Rehabilitation.

The office set up a massage chair where massage therapist Jody VanCleft offered a sample of her work.

Assistant Angie Sisk said once the first person sat down, VanCleft’s magic fingers didn’t stop working.

“Hopefully, we’ll get our name out there, and the next time their backs hurt, they’ll think of us,” she said.

While the expo brought together a variety of businesses, Gary Birnberg of Which Wich restaurant said the event-goers connected well.

“It looks like a lot of people know each other so it looks like the networking really helps,” he said. “That’s what I’m looking to continue.”

Several of the merchants had worked together before.

In-Depth Wraps designed and applied car signage for others at the expo, including Rooter Plus and All About Painting Contractors.

Their most recent wrap touted a community effort called Stick it 2 Cancer, which is raising money for the Light the Night Walk.

The October fundraiser will benefit the Lymphoma Society, something the owners of In-Depth, John and Torri Westmoreland, hold dear to their hearts.

John Westmoreland, 37, was diagnosed with lymphoma in February.

The couple, who has owned the business in Forsyth County since 2001, didn’t come to the expo to raise awareness for their business, but rather for the charity.

“It’s just an opportunity to put a table up for people to learn about us, and try to get corporate sponsorship,” he said.