All roads will lead to the 'Best of South Windsor'

By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Thu., Sep. 29, 2011
According to the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce, one of the exciting features of this year's 'Best of South Windsor Expo' will be the 'avenue' layout. The expo will feature 100 vendors with products, services and information for both businesses and individuals. - Contributed Photo

The South Windsor Chamber of Commerce has announced its plans for the Best of South Windsor Expo, scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 17, from noon to 7 p.m. at the former Highland Park Market at The Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk, located at 800 Evergreen Way in South Windsor. The event is open to residents and businesses in the greater South Windsor area. Admission is $1 or a donation of a non-perishable food item for the South Windsor Food and Fuel Bank.

“We are excited about the new location and think that it will attract many more people to this annual event,” said Marketing Chair Elaine AbouAkar. Interested vendors are encouraged to contact the Chamber as soon as possible to secure a booth site. Sponsorships and advertising opportunities are also still available. This is the sixth expo hosted by the SWCC; it was not held in 2010.

Webster Bank is the signature sponsor of the event. “It’s a great opportunity to show everyone in the area what we have to offer in South Windsor,” said Stacy Camiros, branch manager of the bank’s Ellington Road location. “It’s not just business-to-business,” said Camiros, who is on the expo committee. “There’s something for everyone.”

“We want to touch different parts of people’s lives,” explained Shari Fiveash, executive director of the SWCC. In addition to business-to-business network opportunities, there will be health information, automobile dealers, hobby demonstrations and home improvement workshops. “We’re going to have some really unique, cool vendors,” she added. And with the larger location, Fiveash added, “It’s given us the opportunity to do it big. We’re talking huge.”

“The best part is the different avenues,” said Sharon Grodzicki, chair of the expo committee. Within the larger venue, 100 vendors will be able to set up 8-by-8-foot booths along Business Boulevard for business-to-business networking, or Consumer Court for businesses that market directly to residents and consumers. Healthcare organizations will line Wellness Way, the area’s food businesses will occupy Restaurant Row, and the Crossroads will bring together those organizations that do a little of everything.

“People can spend a couple of hours,” said Grodzicki, “and have something to eat.” Restaurants will provide free samples, as well as items for purchase, and there will be an area with tables and chairs. Workshop speakers and demonstration presenters will be set up in a separate room.

It will be the third SWCC expo for Wallace Tustin Tetreault Realty, Inc., which is located in South Windsor. “We enjoy the expo because it features all local businesses, so most likely you will know a face or two of the exhibitors” said Julie Tetreault. “It's fun interacting with the South Windsor community and answering their questions regarding market and buyer trends.” According to Tetreault, she answers questions, such as how to make a home more marketable, and also features current listings, including foreclosures.

“We’re excited to meet the local community,” said Dan Pullium, director of government relations at TicketNetwork, “and to get the word out of who we are and what we do.” Having recently moved from Vernon to South Windsor, Pullium said TicketNetwork is looking forward to working with the SWCC. “Shari [Fiveash] has a lot of vision and desire to make South Windsor a successful community for businesses and families.” As a new business in town, he said he has also found the town staff to be very supportive and helpful.

For Tobi von Dein, of Fred Astaire Dance Studios, with shows such as “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance” on television, everyone is talking about ballroom dancing. “We decided to participate in this year’s expo to share our love of ballroom dancing with the community,” said von Dein. “It is happing right here in South Windsor.”

“Our company is very excited to be a part of the expo this year,” said Michael Lamb, of Performing Arts. “It should be a wonderful event with a lot of diversity for people in the town of South Windsor and the community.” As a new Chamber member, Lamb has found the SWCC to be a vibrant, organized group of people.

After 18 months of hard work founding the Yoga Shop, located on Sullivan Avenue, co-directors Annie Q. and Kimberly Charbonneau decided it was time to reach out into the community by participating in the “The Best of South Windsor.” At the expo, they will provide live demonstrations, as well as display information on the physical and mental benefits of yoga.

Although many of the exhibitors are located in South Windsor, the expo is open to businesses from the greater area. “South Windsor is a great group of people to get to know,” said Avi Smith-Rapaport, president of We Care Computers, LLC, based in West Hartford.  Smith-Rapaport’s company primarily works with small- to medium-sized businesses. “We find shows like this give us a great opportunity to go out and meet members of the various communities we support.”

“It’s a really good marketing event for us,” said Al Marques, of Esio Water and Beverage of Connecticut. “People can’t believe what our beverage system can do, until they see it.” Although based in Bloomfield, Marques’ company, which services both businesses and residential customers, is a member of the SWCC. Expo visitors will be able to taste Esio’s coffee, tea, vitamin water, cranberry juice and other beverages throughout the show.

According to Heather Nieves, the reason White Oaks Gracious Retirement Living attends the expo is to create community awareness about the facility, which is located on Deming Street in Manchester. “As live-in managers, our relationship with the residents is more intimate, with a wonderful family atmosphere that exists here,” said Nieves, a member of the management team.

For more information about the Best of South Windsor Expo, visit the South Windsor Chamber of Commerce website, or call the Chamber directly at 860-644-9442. The SWCC office is located at 22 Morgan Farms Drive, South Windsor.

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