Business Expo brings companies to consumers

By: Kristyne E. Demske, | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published April 2, 2012

In an effort to help everyone discover what St. Clair Shores businesses have “in store,” several business groups are teaming up to offer the seventh annual Business 2 Consumer Expo this month at Rodger’s Elementary School.

“What we’re trying to do is get people to recognize what the businesses in the area have to offer and what they can do for them,” said Linda Bologna, owner of Embroidery & Much More, 27419 Harper Ave., and a member of the Harper Avenue Business Association’s (HABA) board of directors. “When they don’t have time to stop, they have the opportunity to come there and actually talk to the owners and the people who work for them and figure out what they can do.”

The expo will be held in the cafeteria and gym of Rodgers Elementary School, 21601 Lanse, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. April 14, and is free to the public. There will be door prizes, raffles, performances by Miss St. Clair Shores — who will sing the national anthem — and by Miss Teen and Little Miss St. Clair Shores, plus food vendors.

Bologna said there are typically between 600 and 700 people at the expo.

“The businesses get an opportunity to talk to the residents … see what they’re looking for and see if there’s ways they can help them,” she said.

City officials will also be on hand, as will representatives from the Police and Fire departments.

“We started it to help give businesses a little more exposure,” said Blair Gilbert, HABA president and the owner of Gilbert’s Hardware, 21912 Harper Ave. “So many people zip up and down Harper Avenue and don’t know how much stuff there is, from a massage to brain surgery. There’s a lot of stuff to do on Harper.”

He estimates that it costs him about $200 in advertising to get a new customer into his store; as the expo only costs $150 for a vendor to rent a table, he figured it’s a good deal for local business owners.

“I only have to get one customer, in my mind, to break even,” he said.

Gilbert said he encourages businesses to bring something unusual and reasonably priced to the event to showcase what they can offer customers.

This is the seventh year for the expo, and this year, the Macomb County Chamber of Commerce is helping to put on the event, as well.