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Blended expo sparks business networking

POSTED: February 23, 2013 12:36 a.m.

All American Solar Services installer Johnny Valentine speaks Friday with Pat Adams about solar energy at the Buy Local, Safe & Green Expo held at the Gainesville Civic Center.

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Start-up entrepreneurs and familiar business faces alike mingled Friday at the Buy Local, Safe and Green Expo held at the Gainesville Civic Center.

“It’s been a very successful day. I have meetings scheduled to set up four accounts,” said Don Ansley, an account executive for Ansley Communications in Cornelia.

All that was accomplished, he said, by interacting with the other businesses who set up presentation spaces.

“It’s a great opportunity for networking between the businesses that are here,” Ansley said.

Samples of local products from coffee to carpet cleaner were distributed on the floor as businesses hawked their wares.

In the past, the expo has been held at the Gainesville Mountains Center, now taken over by Brenau University. Ansley offered positive reviews for the change of venue.

“I think this was much better,” Ansley said. “There was a lot more floor space for exhibitors than at the Mountains Center. It was much less crowded.”

And the chamber especially needed that extra space to accommodate the “Safe and Green” side, which in the past was held as a separate event.

Jeannie N. Copeland didn’t set up a booth, but she is a local entrepreneur who runs an organic food delivery service from her website, Copeland exchanged ideas with Hal Williams, from Clean It Green, an eco-friendly carpet cleaning business.

“They have a good mix of businesses here, from individuals like him, who are starting up, to larger companies like Chrysler. It’s exciting,” she said.

Ansley said he thought combining forces with Safe and Green helped business leaders who normally might not have attended that expo, allowing them to meander over the Green side.

“Normally, a company might send one person for Buy Local, and another for Safe and Green, but we had people this year who had the chance to see both. I think that’s a change that’s beneficial for a lot of businesses,” he said.


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