16th annual Business Expo set for next week

Todd G. Higdon

Organizers and businesses are gearing up for the 16th annual Business Expo, to be held Tuesday and Wednesday at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center.

The expo will be open to members of the business community from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday and to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The admission charge for the public on Wednesday is $5 (with children under age 3 free), which benefits the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

“The main purpose of this event is to showcase all of the different businesses in the Joplin area,” said Kim Vann, business director with Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce. “It is the career networking event for business-to-business. We just try to show the public the diversity that we have in the area.”

There are also businesses from the Neosho area that will be in attendance. Also on Tuesday from 4:30-7:30 p.m., a happy hour with food samples will be provided by the restaurants in attendance. Also, a silent auction will be held.

“We have more than 65 items to be auctioned,” Vann said. “The money raised goes to the foundation, which supports our educational and leadership programs. One example is TREK (Teaching Reading to Every Kid). That is a program where we ask members of the business community to be mentors and go tutor a child in school while school is in session.”

This year, more than 200 businesses of all sizes will showcase their products and services. Attendees are given a firsthand look at the variety of services and products offered in the local area. Some of the businesses include banks, insurance agencies, retail establishments, restaurants, hair salons and others.

In the past, many of the businesses have handed out pens, pencils, calendars and other goodies. They can also sign up for some door prizes and enter a drawing for a trip for two to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, provided by Great Southern Travel.

The theme for the expo is “Business Expo 2008 Celebrates America.”

As part of the theme this year, the expo committee is collecting donations to send to our local military troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Items may be dropped off prior to the expo at or brought to the expo.  The troops are in need of the following items:

Tissues, shampoo, body wash, snack food, movies, phone cards, magazines, canned fruit, beef jerky, coffee, water flavor packs, small puzzles or games, hand soap, hand warmers, sunscreen and lip balm. A complete list of items may be found at

Drop off locations are:  Joplin Public Library, CLEAN, The Uniform Company, Integrity Home Care, Joplin Family Y North and South locations and the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Office.

Neosho Daily News