CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – It may have been an overwhelming experience at first, but Colin Scales, owner of Blue Ribbon Pet Supply and Grooming, says having a booth at the Biz2Biz Expo over the years has been a valuable experience for making business contacts and meeting new customers.
“I had no idea what to expect, really,” said Scales, who started the Charlottetown-based business about seven years ago.
“You wouldn’t think the networking would be as big as it is. Even one conversation piece with someone might be a consistent customer for the next five or 10 years.”
This is the 12th year the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce has hosted the event. This year, more than 125 exhibitors were set up at the Eastlink Centre on Thursday, says Penny Walsh McGuire, the chamber’s executive director.
“It’s really an opportunity for the business community to connect with each other, to share their products and services and, really, generate leads,” she said. “There’s a lot of new businesses in our community, a lot of young entrepreneurs, a lot of newcomer businesses, and this is a great way to get everyone together to learn from some of our keynote speakers and presenters and just connect.”
This is the third time Scales has had a booth at the event.
In terms of business contacts, Scales has met companies that provide services that can help his business.
“Today, I probably gained more from people coming to my booth and saying what they actually do. It was great,” he said.
“If you don’t have a booth, you’re missing out.”
Scales has also seen some people that he’s met at the expo show up as customers in his store later on.
“We’re hoping to see it again this year,” he said.
For Amber Bambrick, manager of Pure Spa in Charlottetown, this is the second year she has attend the event.
“It’s a really great way to social network with people and tell people more about the business and what we have up and coming,” she said.
Bambrick said this time around, she is more prepared than the first year she had a booth.
“I really wasn’t sure what to expect last year. I feel like I learned a lot from other businesses about what to take. It’s just a lot more organized for me this year because now I know what to expect.”