HAMLET — More than 30 local companies filled the lobby and banquet hall of Cole Auditorium Wednesday for the annual Blooming Business Expo.
The event, organized by the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce, featured a variety of businesses ranging from restaurants to manufacturers (Therafirm, Enviva) to retailers to nonprofit organizations (Habitat for Humanity, Partnership for Children).
“I think it’s been a good success,” said Chamber President Emily Tucker. “We’ve got some different vendors here this year that have not participated before, we’ve got some of our long-timers that have been coming out year after year, so that means a lot to us to, that they see an importance in coming out.”
Tucker added that there seemed to be more traffic from the general public this year.
“And I think that’s a plus,” she said. “We always want to connect, promote and grow our community and this is a great way to do that.
Most booths had something to give away to attendees as they made their way from table to table, learning about what services the businesses provide. They also had drawings for door prizes that were given away at the end of the event.
And there was free food: Peking Wok set up a mini-buffet with egg rolls, sesame chicken, teriyaki chicken, rice and lo mein noodles; The Grille served up hot dogs and slider hamburgers; Godfather’s Pizza had mini-pizzas, wings and monkey bread; and Dairy Queen had free samples of several flavors of ice cream.
To wash all of that down, Pepsi had several products, including Starbucks flavors, available.
Many vendors were going from booth to booth, networking with their neighbors.
“As long as our businesses get something out of it and it exposes them to more customers and connections in the community,” Tucker said, “ it’s a home run.”