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Clayton business
expo set for Thursday

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

Local businesses, large and small, will have a chance to share their products with the greater community during the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce's fourth annual Showcase Clayton Business and Community Expo.

The open house of goods and services will take place on Thursday, Oct. 15, from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Community Center.

Dozens of businesses, ranging from accounting firms to restaurants, will host vendor booths, sharing useful information and free samples with the public. Jessica Kinard, events and programs manager for the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce, said the event will also give operators of new and established businesses a chance to make contact with one another.

"Everyone needs to know what Clayton County has to offer," Kinard said. "If a business is offering this wonderful service or this wonderful project and no one knows about it, how is it going to benefit their business and, in turn, how is it going to benefit the community?" The expo is "a networking opportunity for the businesses of Clayton County to be able to showcase their products and services," she said.

Kinard said that in the past, the expo has hosted restaurants, catering companies, accountants, child-care services, children's academies, insurance agencies, credit unions, banks, and other businesses. She said businesses new to the expo this year include: Mr. Sandless of Middle Georgia, a floor-refinishing company in Griffin; South Metro Chiropractic Center in Jonesboro, which is offering free massages; and the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve in Ellenwood, a firm dedicated to finding jobs for national guardsmen and reservists returning from active duty.

Door prizes will be offered to attendees, including two round-trip tickets on AirTran Airways. A children's play area will also be provided, with moonwalks, a clown, face painting, a popcorn machine, fingerprinting kits, and various children's games.

Amy Bivins, chairwoman of the Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Development Group, has helped coordinate the Chamber's monthly "Business to Business" luncheons, as well as the business expo, for three years. She said the expo will be a great chance for families to enjoy what is available in the county.

"What I like most about it is, because it is right after school, there are a lot of activities where you can bring your kids out [to]," Bivins said. "There are restaurants, CPAs [certified public accountants], hotels, day cares, lawyers, banks ... all different types of businesses in the community come out. It is a good way to put a face to a name and try some good food from restaurants you have never been to."

Kinard said health screenings will also be available at the event.

"The businesses and nonprofits there offer a wide array of services," she said. "The attendees will walk way with a great deal of information about what their community has to offer."

The Mt. Zion Baptist Church Community Center is located at 7102 Mt. Zion Blvd., in Jonesboro. For more information, call (678) 610-4021.