Whether you want to attend the largest business event in the North Country or are in need of an endless supply of pens, I have the place for you. The North Country Chamber of Commerce every year puts on a business expo featuring over 150 local businesses. I was sent to the expo to view it from both sides, as a vendor and participant.
Pulling into the Plattsburgh State Field House I was instantly surprised to see a nearly full parking lot. I never really thought of the small college town of Plattsburgh and the North Country as having such a business buzz. After settling in, a colleague suggested to head over to Loremans’ Embroidery, Engraving, & Screen Printing booth where you can grab a bag to fill with all the free giveaways from the expo. I stopped by the booth and chatted with owner Thom Loreman, whose company had been a vendor since the very first expo back in 1988. I spoke with Thom about the history of the expo, where he pointed out attendance rising through the years, and a new sense of an international feeling. With the location of the North Country being so close to Canada, businesses stretch across the border, even for events like this. Thom gave me a feeling this event would be full of old and new faces.
I then headed over to the Northern Insuring Agency, Inc. booth where I was able to see the business side of the expo. I helped with giveaways and offered a friendly face to those who stopped by our booth. The best part about our booth was a drawing where people could put in for their favorite non-profit organization to win a donation of $870. It seemed like everyone knew everyone, or at least everyone knew someone. It was all new faces to me, until I looked down the aisle and saw Nine Platt Hospitality, a company that owns a local franchise of Ground Round Bar & Grill, where I work at night in my time outside of Northern Insuring Agency. It seemed for even a newbie like me, worlds would collide at some point for everyone at the expo.
After spending some time at our booth, I took my time to really experience the expo. I stopped by several booths and met many new people from the area. The event held everything from news stations, to non-profit agencies, to airlines, and hotels. The event almost felt like a rally or celebration of the area’s business sectors. Seeing the booths in action was my favorite part of the event. I especially enjoyed my stop with the Elmore SPCA where I spoke with their representative and her doggy friend about helping the local shelter. I ended my walk around the expo with only one regret, I had somehow not gotten a fidget spinner. I had seen many of them floating around the expo.
As the event was wrapping up, I had a chance to speak with our President and CEO, Deena Giltz McCullough. We talked about how buying local and how local business is an important element in our community. She spoke very highly of the event and its history. We talked about how not much business happens at the event, but conversations are being had and connections are being made. “If you aren’t at the expo, then where are you?” Deena said. That really stuck with me as nearly all the key local business people in the area were there – even me, the newbie.
I don’t think I’ll ever forget my first expo. I never realized how much business is in the North Country until now. The jammed packed parking lot was no illusion. Walking in the doors proved this was the place to be for any North Country business, or if nothing else a place to meet new people and collect your pens.
Advertising & PR Intern
Pictured: Noah Bowes (left) and Tracy Graves (right) from Nine Platt Hospitality Group posing for a picture at The North Country-Plattsburgh Chamber of Commerce Business Expo.