Orillia and Area Business Expo making big changes
Orillia Packet and Times
The sixth annual Orillia & Lake Country Business Expo will have a new look and feel this year when it opens its doors to local shoppers on Thursday, Oct. 22, from noon to 7 p.m.
“We’re excited to be hosted at the Best Western Plus Mariposa Inn & Conference Centre this year,” says event Chair, Ken Forbes. “The venue is centrally located in the City of Orillia so business and shoppers from surrounding townships have more convenient access.”
Over the past three years, the Orillia & Lake Country Business Expo has been one of Casino Rama’s largest trade shows. Based on both exhibitor and consumer surveys done at the show each year, the organizing committee decided to try a new venue in 2016 to ensure the location was central, accessible by public transportation and to allow the direct sales of products and services.
Another new addition to this year’s event is an exhibitor-only pre-show networking event, hosted by Kitchen Tire at the Grape & Olive Bistro.
“Year after year, businesses tell us that the best part of the show is the business-to-business networking,” says Forbes. “This year we decided to build in a networking event before the show to allow exhibitors to meet one-on-one and hopefully strike up new partnerships.”
Networking continues to be the number one reason businesses attend the show. The event has helped bring together businesses who otherwise may not have had the opportunity to discuss partnerships.
Pat Gunn, owner of Lake Country Pet Care, can attest to the power of networking at the Expo.
“I made a great business to business connection with Fern Resort at last year’s Expo,” says Gunn. “We spoke about the fact that most resorts do not take dogs and since I live within 15 minutes of the resort, they could pass on my name to those that ask. It’s a win-win situation.”
Gunn also noted that the Expo presented a unique opportunity to market her services directly to customers.
“I like the fact that the Expo allows you to get up front and personal with everyone,” says Gunn. “I like to get out there and talk to people, you can say so much more about your business in person than you can in marketing materials.”
Exhibitor registration for this year’s event opened on May 18, and already the show is filling quickly. There are only 60 exhibitor booths this year, so the organizing committee is targeting new, small and home-based businesses. In order to be eligible, businesses must have a physical location in the City of Orillia, Townships of Oro-Medonte, Ramara and Severn, and/or the Chippewas of Rama First Nation. Since the intent of the event is to assist local businesses in promoting their products and services, multi-level marketing and catalogue type businesses are not eligible to participate in the show.
The Orillia & Lake Country Business Expo is organized by a number of local business support organizations including the City of Orillia Economic Development Office, the Business Enterprise Resource Network, Orillia Area CDC, OTD Building Supplies, Township of Oro-Medonte, and the Orillia, Oro-Medonte and Ramara Chambers of Commerce.
The expo would not be possible without the generous support of local sponsors, including Best Western Plus Mariposa Inn & Conference Centre, Kitchen Tire, OTD Building Supplies, HGR Graham Partners, The Mann Financial Group, Anytime Fitness, Impression House, Meridian, Pixels ‘n’ Print and Scotiabank.
Businesses looking to register for this year’s expo can find more information on the project webpage at www.orilliabusinessexpo.ca or on Facebook at Orillia & Lake Country Business Expo.