Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • A Hannibal tradition: Business Expo provides chance to network

  • The annual Hannibal Business Expo took place Thursday. Exactly how long the event has been going on each year is a trivia question that’s tough to answer.
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  • The annual Hannibal Business Expo took place Thursday. Exactly how long the event has been going on each year is a trivia question that’s tough to answer.
    “The Chamber has been doing the Business Expo for as long as most people can remember,” said McKenzie Disselhorst, executive director of the Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce. “Our records probably don’t go back far enough to tell how long we’ve been doing the Expo.”
    While the Expo has been around for a long time, it’s taken different forms.
    “It used to be at Hannibal-LaGrange and was more of a public show,” said Disselhorst. “Times changed and different things became popular and it became a business-to-business event.”
    Ed Foxall, representing KHMO, KICK-FM, Y101, WLIQ radio stations, says that broadcast organization has been a Business Expo participant “forever.”
    “Every year they’ve had it we’ve been here and we’ll continue to be a part of it. We’re very proud to work with the Hannibal Chamber,” he said. “We’re having a great time. It’s a good event.”
    Linda Coleberd, an Expo participant for the last five years, likes the business-to-business concept behind the event.
    “It lets our counterparts know what all is going on in our separate businesses. We all need to know what everybody else is doing,” she said. “This is just a good way to network and see the items people have or the services people have so we know for ourselves and can spread the word.”
    Coleberd was at the Expo in behalf of Mark Twain Cave and Cave Hollow West Winery.
    “I brought things primarily for the winery,” she said regarding her display table. “I always feel people pretty much know about Mark Twain Cave, but the winery is pretty new.”
    While Coleberd had wines and books on display, and cheese for sampling, across the way at the Fiddlestiks’ booth, free food is what had people lining up.
    “We’re offering spinach and artichoke dip, Polish sausage, and hotdogs with sauerkraut on them,” said Mary Brummer, who began preparing the food around 2 p.m.
    Brummer, who was accompanied by her 9-year-old daughter, Maya, reported that the spinach and artichoke dip was particularly popular.
    “I’ve been really busy,” said Brummer.
    Mary Gibbons, chairwoman of the Chamber Ambassador Group, predicted that Brummer, and other Expo participants, would get busier.
    “Most of our crowd comes in around 5 o’clock after most of the businesses close. We’re looking forward to it,” she said. “We’re just happy everyone is coming down tonight. It’s fun and a good networking event. We so appreciate the businesses supporting the Hannibal Chamber.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Those in attendance not only had the chance to chat with one another.
    “We try to have some fun things going on,” said Gibbons, who was helping oversee a Shoeless Joe skills test, where people attempted to toss soft balls through openings in a fence. The most accurate thrower stood to win some Caveman tickets.
    At Foxall’s booth, the fun took the form of a wheel of good fortune.
    “We’re spinning the wheel for all kinds of prizes,” he said. “This is a radio station booth and as you can see 99 percent of these items have nothing to do with radio. It’s all in fun. We have people who are spinning the wheel and winning, and walking away with some nice gifts. It’s about the fun and it’s about the camaraderie that we have with other business people.”
    Approximately 30 businesses were represented at Thursday’s Expo, which took place at the Hannibal Nutrition Center.
    “That’s about average,” said Disselhorst. “We really can’t fit any more in here. I think it’s about the same number as last year. We’ve got a couple of new vendors.”
    Among the new participants were the Mississippi Market Place and Game On.
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