Photo by Heather Middleton
By Joel Hall
The Morrow Center, one of the county's newest facilities, served as the setting for the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce's fifth annual Showcase Clayton Business and Community Expo.
On Thursday, the expo gave local businesses a chance to network, and residents a first-hand look at the products and services available in their own backyards.
Fifty-eight businesses in, and around, Clayton County, participated in the annual expo. Restaurants, newspapers, culinary school programs, banks, country clubs, non-profit organizations, insurance agencies, were among the ones represented.
Jessica Kinard, manager of events and programs for the chamber, said the new Morrow Center accommodated the growth of the expo, which was held at the center for the first time this year.
"Many people here had not seen the center, or knew that it exists," Kinard said Thursday. "Having it [the expo] at the Morrow Center is just another great way to showcase another great benefit to Clayton.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for our members to get out in front of the public," she continued. "From the business community perspective, it's a great way for the businesses to get associated with one another. It provides businesses with additional opportunities for networking."
In addition to free food and product samples, prize stations, and raffle drawings, kids were also invited to participate in face-painting and other children's activities.
Becky Russell, of McDonough, said she has attended the expo for the past four years with her children. She said the event provides a more comfortable way for residents to interact with businesses.
"They put on a good presentation of what Clayton County has to offer," said Russell. "They [residents and businesses] get to meet face to face. It's a little more relaxed and personable ... you can bring your kids.
"[I] can come here and get information that I might not normally get at [the] bank," she added.
The Palms at Lake Spivey, an assisted and independent living facility in Jonesboro, served as the expo's presenting sponsor. Director of Sales and Marketing Amanda Flanigan said the expo allows businesses and the community to support each other.
"The biggest thing about these events is that people can get knowledge," Flanigan said. "This gives us an opportunity to make relationships with the other vendors, because we all compliment each other ... It gives them [residents] an opportunity to know their community better. It allows us to be able to market to many individuals at one time."