Shaughnessy, 58, has been a salesman for Hudson Printing & Graphic Design for 28 years and has been coming to Tyler for the Business Expo “for as long as I can remember,” he said. “As far as I'm concerned, this allows people to learn who is out there … it opens up those doors.”
The Longview-based business offers commercial printing and direct mail for customers throughout East Texas, including Nacogdoches, Marshall, Kilgore and Tyler. “Tyler is very good to us and has been for many years,” he said.
The Tyler Chamber hosted the 20th annual Business Expo Thursday at Harvey Convention Center. About 140 businesses and organizations set up booths, and thousands of people attended the free event to pick up freebies and learn about their services.
Tyler Chamber Chief Operating Officer Henry Bell said about 4,500 people attended the free all-day event. He said there have been lots of success stories in the past, but some of the most successful have been booth-to-booth networking and contacts.
Christene Tidwell, 75, of Tyler, attended the Business Expo for the first time Thursday. “I just retired and I thought it would be a good event to get out to,” she said.
“It's really nice,” she said of the Business Expo. “I'm getting a lot of good information about different businesses.”
LaDorris Roberts, 65, of Tyler, said she came to the Business Expo for the second year in a row to “look around and see what's going on.”
She retired from Trane in 2001 after working for the company for 30 years. “I like meeting the people,” she said of the Business Expo. “I enjoy looking at different businesses in Tyler and seeing exactly what Tyler has.”
Michael Kelly, a marketing representative for Servpro, said going to the Business Expo was all about branding for the Tyler-based company.
“We're the company most people hope they never need,” he said. “We're making sure everyone knows we're a national company but that we're locally owned.”
Servpro offers professional cleanup and restoration services for people or businesses who have suffered a fire or flood, as well as steam cleaning carpets and tile floors, duct cleanings and mold restoration. The company has been in Tyler for 13 years and also serves Mineola, Palestine and Athens.
Kelly, 50, said they have had a booth at the Business Expo for several years, and it gives them a chance to visit with other business owners and cement their relationships. “Other business owners are just as important as the people who walk through (the doors),” he said.
Kelly said he never knows who might come up to their booth, grab a magnet, put it on their refrigerator and find themselves needing their services later.