biz expo

Several representatives who will participate in the Tahlequah Business Expo next Saturday met recently to get some tips for success. Nearly 50 businesses will participate. Representatives included, from left: Karen Diamantopoulos, of Mark Hodson State Farm; Steve White of Love Bottling Co.; Cindy Lea Sellers of Lakes Country 102.1; and Josh Hutchins of Tahlequah Recycling Inc.

Next Saturday’s Tahlequah Business Expo continues to take shape, and some well-known names in the sports world will highlight the day’s agenda.

Former Oklahoma State University head football coach Pat Jones, who also coached with the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders, will be in the NSU Herb Rozell Ballroom Saturday, March 26, along with representatives from nearly 50 local businesses.

Steve White, of Love Bottling Co., said Jones will be on hand to promote company products, but will also be visiting with the public.

Jones will be at expo for approximately two hours, beginning around 10 a.m.

The WNBA’s Tulsa Shock mascot, Volt, will also be at the expo.

Scott Rosenthal, who is helping Tahlequah Leadership Class 14 set up the event, said organizers were working to get tickets for giveaway prizes from several Oklahoma sports teams.

Saturday’s event offers a chance to connect area businesses with potential clients. Adults and children are all welcome.

Booths will be giving away their own prizes, such as samples of food or drinks, and entertainment will be provided by local groups throughout the day.

“Everything we raise is going to go back into the community,” said Rosenthal.

Amber Cowan, another Leadership Class 14 member, said nearly 50 vendors will set up from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. More are on a waiting list, but organizers ran out of room.

The public can attend for $2 for adults and $1 for children 10-15 years old. The expo is free to NSU students and faculty with an ID, and to Chamber members with an admission ticket.

Several large door prizes will be given away, and winners must be present to claim their prizes.

As of last Friday, the large door prizes included an iPad; five $100 gift cards from Reasor’s; two tickets to see Kenny Chesney at the BOK in Tulsa; at least one TV; and a night’s stay at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Catoosa.

Lakes Country 102.1 will be broadcasting live from the expo.

Several vendor participants met at the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce last week to get tips on reaching new customers and making the inaugural event a success.

“Make sure you have a goal in mind,” said Cowan. “You want to have your booth as interactive as it can be.”

Tahlequah Medical Group, for instance, will have an “Ask the Doctor” booth so visitors can ask the physicians on hand “anything you want to,” said Rosenthal. TMG will also provide free blood pressure and cholesterol checks.

Josh Hutchins, of Tahlequah Recycling Inc., said he’ll be giving away free recycling. The Daily Press, also a sponsor, will be giving away subscriptions and other prizes.

Love Bottling Co. will be offering samples of drink products, while Reasor’s will be showcasing items.

Each of the 40-plus vendors have been encouraged to give away their own prizes, and to also contribute at least one item for a silent auction.

“Don’t just sit and wait for people to come along. Engage them, talk to them,” said Cowan. “You’ll make at least once contact that will pay for everything. I promise you, there’s someone out there who doesn’t know about your business.”

Organizers, as of Friday evening, were working with an NSU group to provide valet parking.

“We’re hoping this is something the Chamber of Commerce picks up every year,” said Rosenthal. “It’s about networking and making relationships. It’s one of the best contacts you can make.”

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