For the first time, Carroll County's Chamber of Commerce has a sellout crowd for the fall Business to Business Expo.
All 71 of the available booth spaces for the annual business fair, which starts Thursday, were filled more than a week ago by Carroll County businesses. Fewer than 60 businesses had exhibits at last year's event.
"We are really pleased," said Helen Utz, the chamber's executive director. "We put in 12 to 15 more booths this year. There really has been extra interest."
A strong marketing effort by the chamber's business fair committee is responsible for the higher turnout, Ms. Utz said. In addition to billboards and local advertising, chamber members convinced Warfield's business magazine to co-sponsor the event.
"[Committee members] are beginning a stronger marketing effort and to show that this is a good way to make contact with purchasing agents and other Carroll County businesses," Ms. Utz said.
"That's the idea behind this entire show."
Publisher Edwin Warfield IV is the lunchtime guest speaker, and the magazine was scheduled to distribute fair directories in Friday's issue, she said.
"We were looking for a sponsor that could reach more businesses and more visitors," Ms. Utz said.
"We contacted Warfield's to see if they were interested, and they were."
Other features of the daylong expo are a round-table discussion of state and federal issues facing business owners with Phil Straw, district coordinator for Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett of the 6th District; a seminar on marketing for small businesses by Vince Campinella and Associates; and a talk about motivating employees by Lise Dellapella of Shopco.
Doors will open for a continental breakfast at 8 a.m., and close after a wine and cheese party from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Admissions is free, but there is a $15 charge for lunch. Reservations for lunch should be made by Tuesday, Ms. Utz said.
Visitors -- who can pick up entrance tickets at the chamber office or at the door -- will have hourly chances to win door prizes, including a three-day trip to Nassau, the Bahamas, donated by Travel Agents International.
Chamber members hope to attract 1,000 visitors. The show attracted about 500 people last fall.
"This is different from our mall show," said Ms. Utz of the chamber's business fair at Cranberry Mall each spring. "That's set up to appeal to the general public. The people that come to this particular trade show are serious customers.
"At the mall, they are people there shopping who are curious about what is being displayed.
"We wouldn't expect anything like those crowds."
Information: 848-9050 or 876-7212.