With time set aside for business-to-business networking before opening to the public, the Clarence Brown Conference Center teemed with activity as business representatives presented their goods and services for the community.
"Healthy Businesses, Healthy Community" was the evening's theme, tailored to fit the first combined showcase hosted by the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce. The spring Health and Wellness Showcase joined with the fall Business Showcase to create the chamber's largest exposition of business vendors to date.
Representatives of nearly every sector made it out to Thursday's showcase, including retail, food services, hospitality, utilities, financial services and trade craftsmen, while health services offered guests free, on-site testing for blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose.
"It's great exposure for all these businesses. I think everyone has been happy, this is the biggest showcase we've ever had -- most booths we've ever had at one time," said Patrick Nelson, showcase committee member and owner of Georgia Fitness Academy. "It's a little challenging this year because we've already had the Health and Wellness Showcase once earlier in the year but a lot of the same vendors are back again. I think from now on having them combined will just be greater exposure for everybody involved rather than splitting them into two separate events."
Showcase committee co-chairs James Hall and Jessica Fleetwood remarked at the early turnout for networking, held specifically for businesses seeking to meet other business leaders.
"It's probably the most business-to-business people that I've seen in the past ones we've done," said Hall, owner of JDH Electric. "This has been good for us to be able to put our name out there for people to associate our name because we advertise in other mediums."
Fleetwood too has found success in attending the showcase, having exhibited with Fleetwood Security for more than 10 years. This year, she manned a second booth specifically for her own venture, Jessie's Accessories selling jewelry and handbags. The committee decided this year to allow exhibitors the option of selling goods at their booth.
"For me, it is allowing me to get my new name out there and my product -- and to be able to sale at this event for the first time has been a great boost," Fleetwood said.
As October nears an end, the chamber wraps up a busy and successful month. Three events, all of which sold out, made for a hectic month. October opened with the Chamber Cookout followed by the golf tournament and finally the business showcase in addition to regular monthly offerings.
"Our No. 1 goal is ,of course, for our businesses to sell something, we want our businesses to be profitable. Also, we want to attract new business and industry, we have a heart for jobs," said Fred Kittle, chamber chairman, crediting board members, committee members, volunteers and staff for recent successes. "We have a saying within the chamber now, 'Let the horses run.' We've got all these great leaders. If it's on mission, just let them do it and you can see the success of the last three events, all sold out, all done great. And the staff has been phenomenal, they've been short-handed for a while but we've got a full staff now and we were blessed with Joe Harris.
"Everything has just been so good. The board, the committee members, volunteers -- if something needs to be done, they just jump in."