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Inaugural Brantford Business Trade Show fosters connections

Local NewsInaugural Brantford Business Trade Show fosters connections

Nearly 100 residents attended the inaugural Brantford Business Trade Show on Wednesday, January 24, 2024.

The event featured 25 diverse businesses and organizations that were set up around the Affinity Conference Centre.

From Roylene’s Sweet treats to Southwest Safety and Supply, KLK Paris, Gem Electrical Services, and more, there were plenty of local entrepreneurs to connect with throughout the day.

Exhibitors had the opportunity to share and exchange information throughout the event, giving out product giveaways, as well as demonstrating what their services do for the public.

Rob Simmons and Jason Holtzhauer of Cozzmic Communications and Security smile for a photo during the Brantford Business Trade Show on Thursday, January 24, 2024.

Sam Gernhart, event organizer and owner of Clarity Marketing and Design, said that the event had a positive and vibrant vibe.

“I am happy with the turnout and that it’s been a steady day,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from the businesses, and I’ve been hearing plenty of ‘thank you for putting this on,’ which is always nice. It just reconfirms why I put these events on, you know? Overall, there’s a lot of mingling and networking going on between the businesses themselves and I think it’s great to see that.”

Joshua Wall of The Crew Real Estate chats with guests during the inaugural Brantford Business Trade Show on Thursday, January 24, 2024.

Gernhart was inspired to create the event after seeing an opportunity to add more to the city’s business world and wanted to bring in a variety of business models and industries all under one roof.

“It’s a great mix of industries, which is always the goal when you do events like this,” she said. “I love that as people were signing up for the show, I even saw some trade businesses come in too. Especially because I’ve heard from some of them that there isn’t a specific industrial trade show for them, so we feel like this one could be neutral enough so they can come and market their businesses.”

Amy Henderson and Narinda Coward of Allstate Insurance: Brantford Commons Agency during the inaugural Brantford Business Trade Show on Thursday, January 24, 2024.

Not only did Gernhart receive positive feedback from the exhibitors involved, but from many of the guests as well.

“I’ve had a lot of attendees come up and actually say, ‘thank you for putting this on, we don’t have something like this here and it’s needed,’’ she said.

As the show wrapped up at 5:00 p.m. many stuck around for the networking portion of the event and continued to mingle.

Guests mingle with Gem Electrical Services during the inaugural Brantford Business Trade Show on Thursday, January 24, 2024.

Gernhart noted that with the day’s turnout, she already knows that she would like to do it again.

“It will happen again next year, I don’t see why it won’t, and hopefully it just continues to grow and get even better in the future,” she laughed.

Gernhart has been running her business since she was 18 years old. As a mother, a business owner and a professor at Conestoga College, over the past year, Gernhart has become well-versed in hosting networking events.  

Business owners mingle during the network portion of the Brantford Business Trade Show on Thursday, January 24, 2024. Photo courtesy Jaime-Lee Ridge of ShopBrantford.

Last year, she launched the city’s first Women in Business Expo which took place on International Women’s Day and over 200 residents attended the free event. To build on the momentum, she also hosted a Network and Mingle event later in the year with over 80 people in attendance.

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