May 8, 2013

Business Expo shows diversity of Dalton firms

Charles Oliver

— For a small town, Dalton has a great variety of businesses, and a great deal of that variety could be found on display Tuesday at the trade center,

“This is our 10th annual Business Expo and we’ve got 143 exhibitors here today,” said Beth Morrison, vice president of member services at the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce. “We are so excited to see so many people here and so much activity.”

Morrison said the expo provides a way for local business owners to network with each other and for residents to learn more about the businesses. Calhoun resident Diego Rivera said he’d learned about several businesses he hadn’t even heard of before.

“I’d heard about this and decided to come up here on my lunch break. I tried some samples from some of the restaurants that are here. I’ll definitely be going to some of them in the future,” he said.

Renee Davis, owner of Four Paws Pet Resort, said the expo is a great place to find new customers.

“We do boarding for dogs and cats, and we do dog grooming. We’ve got two locations, one near the airport and one in Bry-Man’s Plaza. We’ve been open eight years this month. We do this every year, and we have since we opened. We love it. We’ve already gotten three clients today,” she said.

Cyntia Richards, owner of All About Balloons Decorations, was a newcomer to the expo. She said she was impressed with the number of people coming through

“We’ve been in business five years, but I’ve been doing balloons for eight years. This is a great way for us to meet new people,” she said.

Nancy Hallsworth, work-based learning coordinator at Dalton High School, was on hand representing Georgia Youth Apprenticeship. That program tries to place high school students in local businesses as apprentices, interns and entry-level workers as well as in job-shadowing programs. She said the expo is a great way to introduce both businesses and students to the program.

Dalton artist Noah Stokes, owner of Noah’s Art, was displaying some of his paintings.

“This is my first time. I just joined the chamber this year, and I’m very pleased with this. It’s great exposure. I’ve already got a few new clients, and I hope to have some more,” he said.

Dalton City Council member Gary Crews said he was pleased with the turnout.

“It gets bigger and better every year. Dalton has gone through some difficult times, and businesses have struggled. But the chamber has continued to serve them and to try to keep the economy moving,” said Crews, who serves as the council’s liaison to the trade center.