Dozens of community members welcomed the cool air conditioning at Knightdale High School, trading the nearly 100-degree heat outside to meet-and-greet with local business owners inside Knigthdale High School at the annual Knightdale Business Expo Thursday.
The heat might have been a cause for a lower turnout Thursday afternoon, as some booths said that they saw fewer attendees this year than former years.
Knightdale Chamber of Commerce executive director Mary Yount also said that although they’ve been able streamline the space – which threaded vendors from the entrance of KHS through the gym – they had to consolidate this year with fewer vendors.
Last year, the Chamber’s 21-year-old event saw a boost to more than 90 vendors. This year, even with at least six new vendors, the numbers dropped.
New vendors included Little Caesar’s – whose representatives handed out steaming slices of pizza, which hungry visitors welcomed toward dinnertime – Atomic Nutrition and Allstate Walters Insurance Agency in Wendell.
Spring Arbor of Raleigh returned this year to dispense free rainbow-colored snowcones which were quickly snatched up by both adults and their children. The Knightdale Fire Department quickly cleaned out of their supply of huggable stuffed animals and teddy bears.
A welcome boost
Many business representatives said at least anecdotally, that numbers have boomed over the past few years as the eastern Wake area expands and subdivisions pop up.
Monica Lovedo, who works for Vardy HPC, said that they are watching their business grow and services expand. While the Wendell CrossFit already moving into a larger space, Vardy recently added batting cages for baseball and softball practice. Zumba, yoga and indoor soccer may be in the future as well.
Nikki Young, who represents Kid’s Educational Center, said their location on Old Faison Road in Knightdale has grown tremendously due to the subdivisions in the area. Just this year, 15 new children brought their total to 95 summer attendees.
Their booth is always a popular one, Yount said. This year, children of all ages cut, glued and arranged a purple hippo face to take home.
Glennie Ainsworth, who opened up her certified health coach business in east Raleigh two years ago, said that she only networks in Knightdale.
“The chamber takes interest and connects businesses,” Ainsworth said. Although this is her first year as a chamber member, she has networked in the area for the past five years and is an ambassador this year. “It’s at a very personal level.”