Nearly 500 Smith Mountain Lake residents and visitors engaged with local business professionals representing 83 companies at the 17th Annual SML Business Expo on Oct. 15.
“It was a great success,” said Erin Stanley, Member Relations and Events Director for the SML Regional Chamber, which organizes the event. “The energy was incredible, and we had so many positive comments from attendees and vendors.”
Free and open to the public, the Expo allowed exhibitors in a wide variety of industries to share information on their products and services, answer questions, offer demonstrations, provide materials and network with other business professionals. In addition, vendors highlighted job openings and spoke to prospective applicants.
“I definitely saw a lot of conversations happening between business owners and attendees,” Stanley said. “It was exciting because strengthening the economic environment of our community is at the core of the Chamber’s mission.”
The event took place at EastLake Community Church for the first time and was sponsored by ZiTEL Broadband and F&S Building Innovations.
“The indoor gymnasium and church mall were ideal spaces for the Expo. They offered plenty of room for vendor booths and allowed attendees to social distance. And even though it was a beautiful day, we didn’t have to worry about inclement weather,” said Stanley, noting that the event was postponed from its usual date in early May due to of COVID-19 restrictions.
Stanley said more than $5,000 worth of door prizes were given away, including two tickets to the Virginia Tech-Syracuse football game (WYTI radio), a Cobra golf driver worth $350 (ZiTEL) and HVAC services valued at $1,395 (Davis Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning).
“The door prizes were definitely a big hit,” Stanley said, “as was the Dirty Water Dogs SML food truck. Smith Mountain Lake Coffee House inside EastLake also extended their hours so vendors and attendees could grab snacks and coffee.”