‘Business success on the Peninsula’

Westsound Business Expo takes over Pavilion Feb. 19.

Hundreds of businesses from all over the Kitsap Peninsula will converge at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds Pavilion Feb. 19 to show off their goods and services.

The second annual Westsound Business Expo is from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19 at the Pavilion. People can network and peruse about 150 booths free-of-charge at the event.

“Last year we had 140 booths and we expect to be pretty close to that this year,” said Sandi Hunter, of The Logo Loft. “We’re anticipating a sellout which is 150 booths.”

Sandi and her husband John, both of The Logo Loft, are working hard to make sure this year’s Westsound Business Expo is well-attended and a good experience for both exhibitors and the public.

“The goal is to make this one bigger with a lot more booths,” John said.

Local chambers, including Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, Kingston, North Mason, Port Orchard, Poulsbo and Silverdale are back to participate in this year’s business expo. New to the event is the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s one of the first events all of the chambers have gotten together for,” John said.

He and Sandi said about 150 businesses will be on hand Thursday afternoon to show the public what they have to offer as well as provide networking opportunities. Large companies, such as Costco, and smaller businesses, like Olsen Family Chiropractic, will showcase their goods and services in hopes of drumming up more business.

“This is about a chance for mom and pop to rub elbows with the big guys,” John said. “It’s a win-win all around.”

John said more than 500 people attended last year’s Westsound Business Expo and he expects an even larger crowd to show up for next week’s event.

“This year we’re looking to double that,” he said.

In today’s tough economy, John said it’s important for people to buy locally and keep small businesses afloat. He said the Westsound Business Expo is one way to inform the public of business opportunities right here on the Kitsap Peninsula.

“We’re not in this to make money, but to build the community,” Sandi said.

She said one thing attendees may learn at the expo is ways to save a buck or two by shopping at local businesses.

“The savings may very well be here,” she said. “There are some money-saving opportunities for people here.”

John said the business expo provides folks an opportunity to do some networking. He encourages those who plan on attending the event to bring lots of business cards to pass out to interested exhibitors and community members.

A few of last year’s exhibitors said this Kitsap Peninsula expo is the best one they’ve participated in because it focuses heavily on networking, which is an important part of growing any business, according to John.

“We’ve tried to step it up and really take care of our exhibitors and our sponsors,” he said.

Sandi added that the Westsound Business Expo isn’t as costly to exhibitors as other events.

“I think for all exhibitors this is the best bang for their buck,” she said.

More than $5,000 in door prizes and giveaways will be up for grabs at the Westsound Business Expo with six $500 grand prizes donated by local businesses including Office Max, Oxford Suites, Silverdale Beach Hotel and Costco. The first 200 people through the doors at Thursday’s expo will receive complimentary tote bags.

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