Shop Talk

Small-business owners favorite events include conferences, expos and sidewalk sales

Olivia Scott
Olivia Scott

Shop Talk reporter Virginia Bridges asked owners about their favorite annual small-business event in the area. This is what they said.

“We love the Redress Eco-Fashion & Textiles Conference. Their goal is to connect our brand with other like-minded companies who are leaders in manufacturing, innovation and most importantly sustainability,” said Stephanie Smith, owner of Zass Design, a Raleigh jewelry company that transforms recycled objects into classic accessories.

“I used to attend a very popular annual networking luncheon, but found it to be somewhat cold in that people were passing out cards but not engaging in any kind of conversation,” said Brian Scott, COO of Aggie Technologies, a technology services company serving the Triangle, Atlanta area and all points in between. “I do small events, but really don’t go annually. I’m a spur-of-the-moment type.”

“The Winter Sidewalk Sale in January and Hot Diggity Days in July, both here at University Mall,” said Stacey Chapman, general manager of The Print Shop, which provides fine art, print, picture framing and dry mounting services at University Mall in Chapel Hill.“Fantastic deals from all the stores and great entertainment all weekend!”

“The (Cary Chamber of Commerce) Business Expo that takes place in the fall is a great business-to-business networking event where we have the day to learn about each other and our businesses,” said Robin Foster, co-owner of the Mr. Handyman of Western Wake County, which provides professional handyman services. “The other is the Chamber Car Raffle & Auction which is coming up in February where, again, we can network but also have fun dining, bidding and watching the excitement as one lucky ticket holder wins a car.”

“Each spring, the Apex Chamber of Commerce co-hosts a networking event with Apex High School’s Academy of Information Technology program to bridge the world between academics and the ‘real world’ of business,” said Olivia Scott, owner of Promotional Partners in Apex. “Business professionals come together to mentor students and provide relevant feedback to teachers. ... During the annual event, the students practice networking skills. The business community benefits by staying connected with other like-minded professionals.”