The Morning Sun

Many businesses in Crawford County have a strong, ongoing presence, but you might not generally seek them out and learn about all they do until you need them.

The Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce Biz Expo provided an opportunity to change that, with businesses from around the area filling the central part of Meadowbrook Mall both Friday and Saturday.

The event provided an opportunity for members of the area’s business community to interact with the general public, and many offered information, goodies, games or more.

"This is actually the biggest show we have had in years," said Anna Gudde, special events director for the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

She said close to 50 vendors attended the two-day show.

"It is to get the word out to the community about the local businesses that are here," she said, adding that the event featured long-established businesses, startups and more.

Vendors also provided fun, interactive activities, including photo shoots, cell phone use tips and more.

Timepiece Real Estate set up a temporary office in the business’ booth, where real estate agent Tim Kundiger offered browsers the opportunity to sit on comfy couches, check out area property listings and also had a big-screen TV scrolling with listings available through the company.

"We had wireless to our computers, so we can bring up the MLS and search the listings," he said, adding that the show has been good to him in the past.

"Last year we made a couple of contacts," he said. "It’s worth it."

He said he also enjoyed his central location, near where the chamber coffee took place Friday morning.

"We liked this spot, so we haven’t given it up," he said.

Not-for-profits also set up booths, and Jennifer Monje of Big Brothers/Big Sisters worked to get visitors excited about the upcoming Get Fit Youth TRYathlon on July 12, which promotes health for all ages and raises funds to help with overhead expenses involved in pairing Bigs and Littles.

"We get people coming in and out," she said. "We thought it would be a good way to promote the raffle and hopefully the TRYathlon."

Jared Pile, office manager for Saia Smile Center, said he attends about 20 health fairs a year, but enjoys the Biz Expo because it is a way to educate the community.

"It’s a win-win deal for the people of the community," he said, adding that it is an opportunity to talk about the business’ philosophy and services.

Many business also took the opportunity to distribute items with names or logos on them.

"Of course, there’s always the giveaways," Gudde added.

Adding some fun was a western theme, which some vendors played up in their booths, winning Expo prizes in the process.

Celebrations by Lori was named best overall, Saia Smile Center won best use of theme and CDL was awarded best use of product.