The Hobart Chamber of Commerce recently hosted the Hobart Business Expo at Ambassador Banquets in support of the Hobart Food Pantry. The event included the Hobart Chamber of Commerce May luncheon, a presentation by Robb Zbierski from Freedom Personal Development on time management, and a Speed Networking session for businesses.
Chair of the Expo Committee and Hobart Chamber President of Board, Sherry Sink, said that the expo’s Speed Networking program was very successful for the businesses that participated. “It gives them an opportunity to network. See how other people do things.”
Lisa Winstead, Executive Director of the Hobart Chamber of Commerce, chose the event’s speaker, Robb Zbierski, from previous positive experience. “We had him speak at one of our luncheons last year and everybody just loved him because he’s positive and high energy,” Winstead said.
“We wanted a motivational speaker. Something fun and we wanted to hone in on time management because I think that that’s an issue that a lot of people find hard-- managing their time, their calendars.” said Winstead.
Thomas Wisch, from Allstate Insurance, thought that the presentation was very helpful and informative. “I’m totally going to put it in practice. In fact, I took a picture of the steps he put down. I’m actually going to go over it with my employees and go over it with my wife.”
Wisch invites the public to call or stop into the Allstate office in Hobart for a free insurance quote. For every quote, he will be donating $5 to Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana.
The three Chambers, Hobart, Portage, and Duneland will be having a half day seminar with Robb Zbierski called Train Your Brain on September 29 at Sand Creek Country Club. All are welcome to call any of the three Chambers involved to reserve a spot at the seminar.
The public was invited into the expo at 4:00 pm with a canned good donation to the Hobart Food Pantry. “[The expo] lets them be aware of the businesses that are here in the community. It’s a good chance for them to talk to the business owners themselves, find out what they have to offer.” said Winstead.
Joe Zirconia from J Squared entertainment helped host the event in a festive sombrero hat for Cinco de Mayo while giving raffle drawing announcements and introducing businesses.
Businesses were also invited to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at their booths during the expo. In-Site offered free jalapenos and a free raffle for a chance to win a hot pepper plant, and Simco offered “Simco de Mayo” t-shirts.
Texas Roadhouse was also in attendance offering free food samples. Other booths offered raffles, candy and other treats, free services, cups, bags, and more, along with lots of information about what the businesses have to offer.
The Brain Balance Achievement Center joined the expo for the first time this year. “Our focus is just educating people that we’re here and we are a resource for helping those children who struggle with ADD, ADHD, Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorders. We are changing lives across our community and we want people to understand and know that we’re here as a resource to help these kids,” Kim Mrak, from Brain Balance, said.
Mrak invites the public to a presentation by creator and co-founder of the Brain Balance Achievement Center, Dr. Robert Melillo, at Portage High School on June 23rd.
Marketing students from Hobart High School’s DECA program held a booth offering cookies and information on the many programs and classes offered by the school including the school’s Early Learning Center, which offers high school students the chance to work with the children in the Center.
Arianna Jackson, a three year veteran of the Marketing program, said that attending the expo was a natural fit for her to “make connections with people and network.”
The Librarium Cafe, a coffeehouse and tabletop gaming store, came to the event to spread the word about their grand opening in downtown Hobart. The cafe will be offering a place for all ages to enjoy some food or drink and play some board games.
The Cafe also plans to offer late night hours as an alternative to the usual Hobart nightlife, possibly staying open as late as 2:00 am on weekends. The Cafe is planning to open by June 17.
The expo allowed new businesses like the Librarium Cafe to present themselves to the public. “A lot of people know that the businesses are there but they’re not quite sure what services they may offer. This is kind of a great way to get to know what services are available to you,” said Nikki Lopez, Director of Hobart Special Events.
Lopez came to promote community events in Hobart and to network with businesses. “I kind of relate to the businesses, because without the businesses, the events wouldn’t be possible.”
“I start off with zero money at the beginning of the year,” Lopez said. “So from all those businesses, by their sponsorships and partnerships, I’m able to provide all of these free events to the city.”
David A. Lasser, of Commercial In-Sites LLC and Chairman of the Lake County Economic Alliance, said that the expo provides a great way to support the community by supporting businesses within it. “It’s nice to give them business whenever you can or to help them increase sales, so if anybody picks up one more customer they can say this was worth it.”
Adam Karras, of Commercial In-Sites LLC, said the Business Expo is an important way for businesses to work together to raise the accountability and professionalism of local businesses for the people of Hobart.
“The more we work together to try and satisfy the end user, which is our customer or in the case of the Hobart Chamber of Commerce, the people that live in Hobart, the more we, as individual companies, work together and support each other, the better we’re going to be able to provide services to the people of Hobart. The end result is everyone wins,” Karras said.