About 80 booths displaying the products and services of local businesses and nonprofit agencies, small and large, were set up at the Georgia Mountains Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Display booths ranged from local art galleries, printers, gardeners, banks and restaurants to assisted-living facilities.
Reneigh Satterfield, 53, of Gainesville is a financial adviser and manned the booth for her company, Edward Jones Investments. She said the Business Showcase provided great exposure for local businesses.
"The business expo is a great opportunity where you can get in front of thousands of people and get your name and the business’ name out there. It’s a great place for networking," she said.
Kristi Gravitt, 24, of Gainesville was trying to get the word out about the restaurant she works for, Grapes & Hops. But she said she liked finding out about the other businesses in the area, too.
There also were seminars offered throughout the day. For the first time, the exposition offered business advice through the Small Business Resource Fair.
Representatives from the Georgia Department of Economy and the local Small Business Development Center provided information for small-business owners and those hoping to become one
The chamber’s monthly Business After Hours, which was part of the event, was catered by Scott’s on the Square and included an auction.
Sue Hesketh of Flowery Branch said she had her eye on the gift basket from the American Red Cross.
"I’m impressed by all the beautiful things up for auction," she said, adding that she also took advantage of the networking opportunities.
Butch Miller, 51, with Milton Martin Honda served as the guest auctioneer. He said the event was well-attended, and he visited the Business Showcase twice during the day.
"It’s been a great opportunity for businesses," he said, adding that it gives business owners a chance to meet others.
Kerry Leery, a new chamber member from Clarkesville, planned on bidding at the auction, but said he came for the networking.
Penny Sharp, a chamber member from Dahlonega, said she attends a lot of business expos and was impressed by Thursday’s event, calling it "very professional and put together."