Small-business owners use Expo to network, market

Staff writerMay 6, 2013 

Shop Talk reporter Virginia Bridges attended the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 Business Expo at the N.C. State Fairgrounds last week and asked small-business owners and representatives how the event helps their business. This is what they said.

•  “We get to meet a lot of different people and businesses,” said Michelle Parrish, marketing and catering director with zpizza, a locally owned franchise with one location in Cary and two in Raleigh. “I schedule catering orders, marketing events and fundraisers, and at events like this, I get to meet new people so I can schedule events with them.”

•  “Basically, it is just good to be part of the community. It is good to see how other people are doing,” said Chris Heavener, manager of Videri Chocolate Factory in downtown Raleigh. Heavener said it is also an opportunity to network and identify companies that might want to rent out their space for an event.

•  “We want the decision makers,” said Maryellen McMorrow, president of McJunk, a full-service junk removal and hauling service in Raleigh that seeks to recycle or donate the items it collects. “We appeal to everybody. Everybody has junk. Everybody feels better when they know their things can be reused and donated. … It’s helping us connect to all different businesses, small businesses, large businesses, residential, commercial.”

•  “We are an online business, and we love that part of it, but there is a component that requires face-to-face interaction,” said Chris Duke, co-founder of Anna’s Gourmet Goodies, which is located in Wake Forest, but sells cookie and brownie gift packages online. “This gives us the opportunity to meet customers and friends face-to-face.”

•  “We’re here to just get our name out there,” said Melissa Sauls, marketing representative for Fun Rides and Events, a Sanford company that provides event services. “We do a lot of festivals and fairs, but we are hoping to get some corporate events.”

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