Expo to spotlight chamber members


Annual event will bring together around 100 county businesses

 

By Catherine Kavanaugh

Daily Tribune Staff Writer

 

After a month in business, Goldfish Tea owners Jim and Janice Gurling have seen a steady stream of customers come into their Royal Oak store and their line of Chinese teas become a beverage of choice at Orchid Cafe in Troy.

 

However, the pair of former Daimler-Chrysler engineers would like to be busier. They said their tea room is a great place for business meetings, their teapots and mugs make great gifts and they want to sell and service tea kits for the lunch rooms of area offices.

 

To spread the word to a wide audience of potential individual shoppers and corporate clients, the Gurlings will be at the South Oakland Business Expo from 1-6 p.m. Wednesday at the Royal Oak Farmers Market, 316 E. 11 Mile Road.

 

Formerly called the Royal Oak Business Expo, this year’s event will put a spotlight on the members of five chambers of commerce located in Royal Oak, Ferndale, Berkley, Clawson and Hazel Park/Madison Heights.

 

“Across southeast Michigan you see local governments sharing resources and cooperating for economic development and to promote the region,” said Bill Allen, executive director of the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce. “With five chambe rs together, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”

 

The expo will bring together 102 businesses from AAA Michigan to the YWCA, according to Shelly Kemp, events director for the Royal Oak chamber.

 

“We’ll have a little bit of everything,” Kemp said. “It’s a very good mix, not all business to business. Exhibitors like Arbon will be there with natural makeup and skin care products.”

 

So will small businesses like Designed By You Jewelry, Canac Cabinetry, Costco, Curves and Bishop Foley High School and Oakland Community College.

 

Many exhibitors will be bring samples and coupons for their goods and services. Goldfish Tea will set up a portable tea bar.

 

“We’ll offer tea tastings and free samples of our green, oolong and black teas,” Jim Gurling said. “We took an end space because we expect to attract a lot of attention.”

 

About a dozen businesses also will have drawings for people who drop business cards into fish bowls. BenePro, Royal Oak, will give away a hand-held GPS; Bigby Coffee (Beaner’s), Royal Oak, is bring gift cards worth 10 cups of coffee each; 1-800-Flowers, a $50 gift certificate; Blumz by JRDesigns, Ferndale, flowers a month for a year; Coffee Beanery, Berkley, a gift card and a pound of coffee; Contract Design Group, Royal Oak, a Nintendo Wii but the winner won’t be drawn until April; PrideSource Media Group, a year-long listing at Pridesource.com and in the Pride yellow pages; Shanbom Eye Specialist, Berkley, a gift card to Bagger Dave’s, Berkley; Space Care Interiors, Berkley, an ergonomic and design consultation for the office valued at $250; Starline Promotions, Southfield, an executive portfolio and a deluxe leather mouse pad/calculator; the Daily Tribune, a quarter page, multi-color ad; and YOUnique Cards, Sterling Heights, a set of 1,000 business cards, including a custom, hand-drawn caricature.

 

Admission to the South Oakland Business Expo is $5. However, coupons for free entry can be obtained from any participating chamber, branches of Citizen Bank or printed from www.royalaokchamber.com.

 

Contact Catherine Kavanaugh at cathy.kavanaugh@dailytribune.com or (248) 591-2504.

 

Original article: http://www.dailytribune.com/stories/030908/loc_localn01.shtml