“We haven’t been able to get funding necessary for TV advertising and other operational matters,” said Alray Sumpter. “This is a product that can be used on all vehicles — cars, 18-wheelers, military units and consumer vehicles.”
So Sumpter is turning to the Shop Carroll Expo to help bring some public exposure for his product.
The Shop Carroll Expo name has only been around a few years, but the show that displays locally made products has a long history.
“It’s been going on for a long time,” said Daniel Jackson, president/CEO of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce. “It used to be the industrial expo, where industry showed their products. Then it transitioned to the small business expo, with the intent of giving small business a chance to show their products and services.”
The chamber already had a program going to encourage people to shop locally, so all the campaigns were combined into the fall Shop Carroll Expo.
This year’s Shop Carroll Expo will be held from 4-7 p.m. Thursday in the Carroll County Recreation Complex Gym. Admission is free.
“This is not just business-to-business, but we want to encourage the public to attend,” said Donna Armstrong Lackey, the chamber’s vice president of Business Development & Community Relations. “We have 33 exhibitors signed up this year. The expo features everything from the service sector to retail businesses. It will have a lot of good food and fun events. It’s a networking event, as well as a chance to highlight our business community.”
Door prizes will be given, with a grand prize of $250 in chamber gift checks, good at more than 100 different stores and services. Each exhibitor has a 10-by-8-foot booth to display its products and have representatives available to talk with visitors.
“Every business had lots of giveaways and promotional products,” she said.
Jackson said the expo offers an opportunity for local businesses to show their products and services at a large location where they can draw a crowd.
“It gives a chance for the businesses participating to network and exchange cards with each other,” Jackson said. “But it’s also a business-to-community show, where people can come in, meet business owners, pick up brochures and see some of the products.”
Jackson said this type of meeting offers potential customers a “less threatening way” to talk with business representatives and learn what they have to offer, without the commitment of visiting the business location.
“Most chambers do similar type shows,” he said. “Last year’s attendance was really good. This is our fourth time at this location and it’s worked well. There’s lots of display space, it’s easy to get to and has a large parking lot for easy access.”
This will be the first expo for Tish Kilgore, owner of Simply Cupcakes of Carrollton.
“We joined the chamber and found it has been good advertisement and a way to give back to the community,” Kilgore said. “This will be our first expo and we’ll be bringing a lot of our fall cupcake flavors: pumpkin spice, simply delicious, red velvet and caramel apple.”
She said business has really grown in recent weeks, with big sales at Taste of Carrollton and a Southwire Company event.
“We’ve linked up with Open Campus Wings on Brumbelow Drive, near the University of West Georgia campus, to make our products available on the west side of the city,” she said.
Adam Alvord of West Georgia Cycling said this is his first expo and he wants to “get his name out there” and pick up some business. He said he will be bringing a few of his bicycles and brochures and information about his business.
American Sign Depot on Bradley Street in Carrollton is a long-time participant in the expo.
“It helps us a lot in getting our name out there,” said owner Josh Barker. “We can let people know what products we have to offer.”
Barker said he will be bringing several items to display, including a large outdoor banner and an indoor one that has a stand and can be rolled up.
“From a chamber perspective, Shop Carroll Expo is a way for us to provide promotion for our member businesses and let the public know what they do,” Jackson said.