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Chamber showcase provides networking, exposure

The annual Chamber of Commerce Small Business Showcase was held Thursday at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and featured more than 100 local businesses demonstrating or showing their products or services. Much of the day was spent competing for visitors’ attention. Here, December Dreher asked passersby if they wanted a kiss. She then handed them a Hershey’s Kiss candy glued to a business card. Her mom, Kristen Dreher, at left, is marketing manager for ServPro of Jefferson City.

The annual Chamber of Commerce Small Business Showcase was held Thursday at the Capitol Plaza Hotel and featured more than 100 local businesses demonstrating or showing their products or services. Much of the day was spent competing for visitors’ attention. Here, December Dreher asked passersby if they wanted a kiss. She then handed them a Hershey’s Kiss candy glued to a business card. Her mom, Kristen Dreher, at left, is marketing manager for ServPro of Jefferson City. Photo by Julie Smith.

Networking and exposure were the name of the game at the “biggest show for business” Thursday during the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Business Showcase.

photo

Students at Merrell University show off their makeup design skills at the school’s booth at the Chamber of Commerce Business Showcase. At left, Columbia magazine publisher Angie Huhman visits with Scott Sharp, director of admissions.

About 100 booths showcasing Jefferson City businesses attracted more than 1,000 people, officials said.

“It has been a great day for business networking, with a lot of activity and variety in the booths,” said Susan Neill, membership and special events director for the Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve had a steady flow of people.”

This was the 20th year for the showcase, and the event began with a breakfast and morning presentation where Wallstreet Group was awarded the 2013 Small Business of the Year award.

Later in the day, Sherry Brandt of Oak Tree Villas was named the Exceptional Employee of the Year. Neill said the nominees for the award went to individuals who provide outstanding customer service, find opportunities for improvement and exceed customer expectations. Brandt took the award out of 34 nominees.

Businesses small and large attracted visitors to their booths with giveaways, games and a wealth of information. Jefferson City Nursing and Rehabilitation Center attended for the first time.

“We just wanted to get our name out there,” said Nathan Herron, director of admissions. “Our main objective is to get people to tour our facility, and get some new eyes on the building.”

Katherine Carlson, memories unit manager, said the facility has made several improvements during the past 2 1/2 years since a new administration team was put in place. The showcase has given the business an opportunity to let people know of the changes.

Across the room, Janet Wear-Enloe, chief marketing officer for the Jefferson City Medical Group, was enthusiastically drawing people in with a game-show approach. The JCMG booth set up a trivia timeline where visitors had one minute to get the events in order by year.

Wear-Enloe said their goal each year is to make an interactive booth that goes along with things happening at the medical group. Since JCMG is celebrating 20 years, a “Then and Now” trivia timeline was the perfect fit. JCMG has been a part of the Business Showcase for many years, Wear-Enloe said, and they’ve tried to kick up their booth the last few years.

An elaborate setup of Christmas decor and food displays could be seen at the Hy-Vee booth. Laura Hill, accounting coordinator, said the business showcase is a great way to network with other businesses in town and let people know what is happening at the store. Hy-Vee recently hired a new floral designer and is featuring a new cheese section. Items promoting those changes were on display Thursday.

View accompanying photo: ServPro "kisses"

View accompanying photo: Merrell University students

Related article:

Wallstreet Group takes “Small Business” award

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