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Chamber Expects Business Expo to Draw 1,200 Attendees

Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce offers free entry for registration by March 2.

What will draw more than 1,200 business people to one spot in Alpharetta on Friday, March 4? It's the 2011 Business Expo, hosted by the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce.

This year the six cities of North Fulton–Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton, Mountain Park, Roswell and Sandy Springs–are the title sponsors, along with Progress Partners.

"We look at this as being another banner year," Beach said. "The thing that really excites me about this year also, is that we are unveiling our Progress Partners initiative. All six cities are coming together as sponsors.

"It's great that they are coming together for economic development," he said.

"Progress Partners is a clearinghouse for the six cities," said the chamber's Kendra Plotkin, who is organizing the event.

Any business that wants to relocated to any of the cities can come to Progress Partners and find the information needed to make that choice, she said.

The Business Expo will be held at the Atlanta Marriott-Alpharetta on Windward Parkway, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free parking will be available off site, with shuttles running attendees to and from the hotel. The Windward MARTA Park and Ride lot is one of the lots, which will be clearly marked with directions.

Register by March 2 online and admission is free, Plotkin said. The charge at the door will be $20.

"This year things have turned around a bit, and now's the time for people to get out there and talk to people about beginning new businesses, employing more people, expanding and growing–and connecting with other people," Plotkin said.

The economic climate seems to be improving based on local businesses.

"I think the businesses this year are more positive, just really more positive about where they are going," Plotkin said.

The Business Expo sold out exhibit space for another year.

"It's been a good year for us, a good year for the chamber," she said.

Plotkin encouraged business people to come even if they aren't one of the 85 exhibitors.

"Not everyone can be an exhibitor, but it's a great place to meet and connect with other businesses in the community," she said.

Most of the attendees are from the immediate area in North Fulton, Forsyth, Cobb and even from Atlanta.

"We've had over 1,200 people the last few years and we anticipate at least this much," Plotkin said.

Exhibitors will include the six cities, their convention and visitors bureaus, banks, universities, telecoms, insurance agents, financial people, credit unions, disaster recovery firms, furniture retailers, computer products and services businesses and Internet marketing and strategy firms.

"We've got a wide, wide range of people," Plotkin said.

Local restaurants–all chamber members–will supply food at lunchtime.

The Business Expo kicks off at 7:30 a.m. with the chamber's Eggs & Enterprise Breakfast. Craig Dominey with the Ga. Department of Economic Development, Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Division will explain how North Fulton's designation as a "camera ready" community affects local business. Registration is required.

The 85 exhibits won't be all that serve attendees. The Business Expo has its own "university," with five seminars:

Morning Sessions–10:30-11:50 a.m.

Panel:  Marketing in a New Media World–Azalea Room

The Ugly, Bad, and Good: The state of economic conditions and projections in North Fulton and Atlanta Metro–Dogwood Room

Afternoon-1:15-2:35 p.m.

Where Does the Money Come From: 2011 Perspectives on business financing in an uncertain economy–Azalea Room

Sales vs. Customer Service: Which is More Important?–Dogwood Room

Maximizing Smart Phone Technology in the Business World–Room A (Located off Dining Room)

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