Businesses large and small flock to biggest trade show in Queens

By Alex Robinson

More than 1,000 networking enthusiasts swarmed Citi Field Tuesday to attend the borough’s largest trade show, organizers said.

The Queens Chamber of Commerce held its annual business expo to give small and large businesses an opportunity to make connections.

“It’s a great networking event for the borough and we have people coming from all over,” said Gregory Rose, spokesman for the chamber.

The event attracted the most registrants it has ever had for the breakfast that preceded the expo. More than 200 people attended the breakfast, which had a World’s Fair theme this year to commemorate the 50th and 75th anniversaries.

Dozens of vendors lined the expos’ walls in order to take advantage of the event’s networking opportunities. TimesLedger Newspapers was a sponsor.

Monroe College, a new member of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, attended the event to boost its visibility in the community as it opened a new extension site in Flushing in October.

“We’re getting our name out there,” said Betty Chen, the school’s admissions coordinator. “It’s great to be able to do that to let people know we’re here.”

In addition to finding new students for the school, Chen said she hoped the expo could also lead to corporate sponsorships.

The event also offered two seminars in online marketing and social media for businesses looking to learn about Web advertisement.

Queens Chamber of Commerce President Albert Pennisi said although it was necessary for businesses to adapt to changes in technology, the expo showed the value of meeting potential business contacts in person.

“We’ve convinced people there is still a need to see people face-to-face,” he said. “It’s nice to e-mail them and contact them through Facebook, but there is still a reason to do what we’re doing here.”

Pennisi said by the end of the day at the expo, many participants will have met new people, made new relationships and potentially gotten new business.

“You can’t do all of that on social media,” he said.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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