The Cranberry Eagle
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Article published March 27, 2013

CHAMBER event lets vendors tout services, wares

Jared Stonesifer
Cranberry Eagle

WARRENDALE — Hundreds of visitors flocked here Monday afternoon to peruse and sample products made by area businesses.

Those visitors had the chance to meet more than 140 business leaders who participated in THE CHAMBER of Commerce’s annual Neighborhood Business Expo at the Four Points Sheraton Pittsburgh North, just over the county line from Cranberry Township.
The crowd overflowed from a large ballroom packed with vendors into an adjacent hallway full of people mingling.
Visitors had a variety of businesses to check out. One booth offered a back massage while another booth offered samples of chocolate cake from a restaurant.
Harmony resident Randy McMillen stood next to his wife and shuffled from booth to booth.
He said he frequently does business in the area and always comes to THE CHAMBER’s annual home improvement expo. When he learned about the business expo, he knew it wouldn’t let him down.
“We’re loving it,” McMillen said.
As the new president of THE CHAMBER, Rebecca Martin attended her first expo. She said events like this are crucial to making sure businesses are in tune with each other and the customers they serve.
It all comes down to networking, she said.
“People want to do business with people they know and trust,” Martin said.
Most of the vendors were business expo veterans. Others like Mars resident Jim Logan, who just opened a business in Cranberry, came to meet new people.
“This seems like the perfect way to get word out,” said Logan, whose store specializes in batteries of all kinds.
Others, like ESB Bank manager Debbie Allen, have been here before. She said this was at least her sixth consecutive business expo.
She keeps coming because it’s a great way to reach new customers. But over the years she’s also found an added benefit to having so many businesses in the same place at the same time.
“It’s great for meeting new customers,” she said. “But it also serves as a great opportunity to network with other vendors.”
While many of the hundreds of visitors might also have been veterans of the business expo, some came for the first time.
Seven Fields resident Linda Schulte is new to the area and said the sheer number of businesses here can be overwhelming.
An event like the expo could help introduce her to services or products she didn’t realize were sold in her neighborhood.
“I think this is great for those businesses that get lost in the shuffle,” she said.