Tue, 04/26/2022 - 1:04pm caleb
Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce conducts Business Expo at Kirtland Community College event center on Thursday
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce Business Expo returned on Thursday, April 21, offering an “opportunity for the community, local businesses, and organizations to network on a large scale with each other,” according to event organizers.
The Business Expo was held at the Kirtland Community College event center.
Hayley Strohpaul, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, said public attendance and participation from businesses were down this year from pre-pandemic levels, but the event was still successful.
“It went awesome,” Strohpaul said. “The venue was great. We had lots of room for networking.”
“Everyone really liked it. The response we received was great,” said Jessica Shepard, Chamber of Commerce Office and Event Assistant.
The 2022 Business Expo featured approximately 50 booths, according to the chamber.
Chamber officials said one highlight of the event was the food with local businesses such as Spike’s Keg ‘O’ Nails, Michigan Brew, Dead Bear, Grayling Restaurant, Heart of Up North Realty, and Dubois offering Mediterranean wraps, ramen duck soup, reuben egg rolls, biscuits with gravy, homemade cookies, and popcorn, respectively, and Biggby Coffee of Kirtland and Coffee By Steph offering beverages. The Kirtland Community College venue also offered a cash bar, chamber officials said.
Strohpaul said some businesses and organizations “had some really creative booths” this year.
Matt LaFontaine Automotive had a car in the venue, Farm Bureau offered a Hawaiian theme, Northland Area Federal Credit Union conducted a bicycle give-away, the Grayling Rotary Club celebrated its 50th anniversary, McLean’s Ace Hardware offered dog treats, and Jansen Insurance had a Bob Ross cut-out, among other highlights, Chamber of Commerce officials said.
Todd Aldridge provided live music for the event.
Matt LaFontaine Automotive, Heart of Up North Realty, and Black Diamond Broadcasting Group were Main Event Sponsors for the Business Expo, according to the chamber.
Strohpaul said COVID-19 and the change in location likely contributed to lower participation numbers this year.
“It was still a successful event,” Strohpaul said. “It just needs to get built back up.”
Strohpaul said the Chamber of Commerce might conduct some sort of “booth competition” during next year’s Business Expo to help generate “more interest.”
“It was a great event. I hope we can have it there next year and have more businesses and people come out,” Strohpaul said.