Small businesses on display at expo |

Small businesses on display at expo

Gina Barker, The Park Record

The title ‘Park City Chamber/Bureau Professional Expo’ may sound like some buttoned-up convention, but it’s really just a casual affair. Attendees were grouped around sandwich and veggie platters or exchanging cards from booth to booth, all to make connections. Old friends among the business community exchanged warm smiles as they recounted the last month in the office, the frequency of familiar handshakes and calling across the room evidence of the small-town atmosphere in Park City.

The expo was packed; wall-to-wall people were stopping at different booths, asking questions and exchanging business cards.

"This is fun," said E.J. Raven, owner of Freedom Chiropractic. "This is a great networking opportunity. You see fellow business owners, and you get to meet, greet and connect with them. The Chamber/Bureau designed this so that businesses will work closer together."

The event got a facelift this year, moving away from a more traditional expo setting to something more social. Craig McCarthy, the director of member services for the Chamber/Bureau, reconfigured the expo, combing the monthly After Hours Business Mixer with the event.

"We wanted to change it up a little bit," he said. " the Chamber/Bureau has over a thousand members, and many of the members are professional service providers. These businesses are not the typical what-people-think-of Park City business. We usually think of the three resorts or the Utah Olympic Park, but there are all these businesses in here that provide services to people in Park City. We want to be sure those businesses have an opportunity to get in front of the community as well."

The event is hosted every year as a way for businesses outside the tourism industry to promote themselves and make new partnerships. Park City Chamber/Bureau spends a lot of time, energy and dollars to advertise the tourism industry, the economic driver in town, but the expo is a way to give a voice to other local-driven businesses that are Chamber/Bureau members, businesses such as Park City’s chiropractors, local banks and storage facilities.

Catherine Cimos, the branch manager of the local Frontier Community Bank, promoted her campaign to join the Chamber/Bureau Board of Directors at the expo. Bouncing between conversations, she said she was glad to see so many friends from the community.

"It’s so important to me as a branch manager to give back to the community," Cimos said. " This is a community outreach effort, being here. We want to educate our community that this is what we represent, bank with us because we’ll give back to the community you live in."

For Vanessa Brown, director of the Pro-Health Lab at the Park City Medical Center, it was her first year at the event. Her booth tested blood pressure and body mass index rates, but like Raven, she was there to network. In the course of an hour, Mountain Express talked about running an article about the lab and found out the PC MARC gives discounts to Intermountain Healthcare employees.

"Part of what the chamber does is provide networking opportunities for businesses to meet and hopefully work together," said Bill Malone, the Chamber/Bureau President and CEO. "Many times we may overlook the importance of service businesses. We want to dedicate this event each year to those businesses. We want to provide value to them."