Area businesses spread the word

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Expo unites 5 local chambers, draws steady stream of visitors


By Catherine Kavanaugh

Daily Tribune Staff Writer


ROYAL OAK — Lisa Griffiths probably traveled the farthest to go to the South Oakland Business Expo, where she looked for printing companies Wednesday amid more than 100 exhibitors at the Royal Oak Farmers Market.


Griffiths lives in the 15-person village of Lake Minchumina, Alaska. She makes a living crafting wearable and decorative art from natural items. The remote village is great for collecting porcupine quills, birch bark and antlers for earrings and picture frames, but lacks many of the goods and services she needs for her business, Wildwood Alaska.


“It sure is nice to come to the city,” said the former Royal Oak resident, in town to visit family, go to the eye doctor and try to expand her clientele.


While she gathered information about business cards and brochures from representatives of Image Printing, Royal Oak, and Allegra Print and Imaging, Clawson, Griffiths did some personal shopping, too, at the setup for Contours Express, a woman’s gym in Berkley.


Owner Joanne Lightbody had a four-pound Acu-Hoop for browsers to try out.


“It’s way easier than a hula hoop,” Griffiths said as she spun the hoop around her waist.


Lightbody said the weighted hoop is good for balance and coordination in addition to trimming the waist.


“You’ll lose inches if you do it 10 minutes a day,” she added.


Griffiths was sold and went to look for her mother, Virginia Worthy, and sister, Jacquie Worthy, to regale in her find.


Lightbody was pleased to spread the word about a popular product at her store. The expo brought together five chambers of commerce and brought foot traffic to many businesses struggling in the state’s sluggish economy.


Jeff Goldsmith of Joe’s Army Navy said he joined the expo to remind businesses and shoppers his store is still is in Royal Oak and stocked with sleeping bags and gear for parents preparing to send their children to summer camp.


“I’m also seeing a big run on ammo cans,” Goldsmith said. “They’re water tight, air tight and bomb proof. People are buying them for time capsules, to store black powder and gun shells and even to bury money in their back yard.”


Terri Hawes, a manager for Biggby Coffee, poured cups of their special blends and told people about her store at 30332 Woodward, Royal Oak, and another one coming to Madison Heights.


“We’re so busy in Royal Oak we now open an hour earlier at 5 a.m.,” Hawes said. “We have free WiFi and our stores have become offices for some people.”


Biggby coffee patrons also spill over to the 1-800-flowers shop next door, which opens at 7 a.m.


“We actually get a lot of people who buy their coffee then come over to get flowers to take to work for people’s birthdays and other occasions,” manager Nichole Baker said. “We get a lot of customers from 7-7:30 a.m.”


H&R Block representatives passed out fliers reminding people to file tax returns for relatives in nursing homes so they will be eligible for tax rebates being offered as a national economic stimulus plan.


“Just let the government know how much the senior gets in Social Security and they will get a rebate. That hasn’t really been promoted yet,” said Augustine Kapustij, office manager of H&R Block’s locations in Madison Heights.


Expo visitors got all kinds of advice, promotional materials and samples, including plates of pulled pork sandwiches and Dijon mustard vinaigrette potatoes from Holiday Catering, which set up a cafe with a tent and tables from C&N Rentals, Royal Oak, and flowers from Blumz by JR Designs.


“We wanted to give people ideas for outdoor business luncheons,” said Rhonda Richter of Holiday Catering. “It’s like an upscale picnic.”


The exhibitors saw a steady stream of visitors to the five-hour expo that started at 1 p.m.


“People were waiting to come in,” said Jacklyn Galesky, vice president of the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce and president and CEO of Northwood Credit Union. “This will be a yearly event. It’s really great for all of the chambers.”


The participating chambers were from Royal Oak, Ferndale, Berkley, Clawson and Hazel Park/Madison Heights.


Contact Catherine Kavanaugh at or (248) 591-2504.


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