Spring break heralds not only a week off from school and the dawning of spring, but it is also the time of year when Chamber of Commerce offices in Williams County sponsor the annual Williams County Business & Industry Show. This much anticipated event will be held Tuesday, March 26, 2013, at the Bryan Middle School in Bryan, Ohio, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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The event was created 27 years ago by people in the Bryan Chamber of Commerce who desired an expo of some sort to show what services and businesses were available in and around Williams County. Connie Zimmerman is believed to have been among those who founded the Business and Industry Show. Its humble beginnings took first place in the VFW Hall basement, and they had 15 booths. Over the years, news of the event caught on, and more people asked to participate. It had also been housed at the Bryan High School over the years until it found a home at the Middle School. Now there are over 175 booths available, and around 160 exhibitors. Some exhibits require more than one booth. Dan Yahraus of the Bryan Chamber said that the show is intended to showcase businesses in and around Williams County, and so that businesses and industries can show people what is out there, and what they have that is new or old.
The Chamber’s website (http://www.bryanchamber.org/B&Ishow/B&Inews.htm) notes that “This event is the area’s largest venue for surrounding businesses, industries and organizations to display all that they have to offer to Northwest Ohio. With over 170 booth spaces available and with the many visitors, it is the single largest day available to show off your “stuff”.”
In addition, “While many visitors come to see or learn about your business, there are still many who come only for the freebies. Keeping this in mind, the Chamber office encourages everyone to continue to hand out your freebies but limit how many you give out each hour. By limiting the freebies each hour, this will allow each display booth ample supplies of items for the visitors who don’t visit us until later in the day.”
Yahraus said that they estimated that approximately 10,000 visitors made their way to the show last year. This was based on three hourly counts throughout the day. In the first 10 minutes of last year’s event, 234 individuals came through the doors. In just one hour around lunch time, 335 persons came through just the front door.
Typical businesses that participate in the show are area banks, local media, home improvement, and many other types of businesses. All of the Chamber offices in the county participate. Businesses have come from outside of Williams County as well from such towns as Lima, Defiance, Bowling Green, Perrysburg, Toledo, and Maumee, Ohio: from Coldwater and Camden, Michigan: from Auburn, Indiana; and from towns in Fulton County.
In addition to the businesses that display their booths, the Bryan Lioness Club serves light refreshments throughout the day.
The Williams County Business and Industry Show is a chance to get out and have some fun learning about our area businesses as well as sampling some treats, and having a chance to win a prize while doing so.