Pine Bluff's 26th Annual Business Expo

PINE BLUFF (KATV) - ThePine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce's 26th annual Business Expo filledthe halls of the Pine Bluff Convention Center Thursday.

Expoorganizer Kali Walker said that some significant changes were made to theformat of this year's event, which organizers expected to host 118 exhibitors.

"Wewill have a VIP premiere time from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. Thursday morning forour exhibitors to meet with their invited customers and clients," Walker saidWednesday afternoon. "This format was used in the past but in recent years theexhibit area was open to the public for the entire time. Our exhibitors told usthat they wanted this change because they were spending thousands of dollars totake part in the Expo and were not able to connect with potential customers dueto the large crowds of casual visitors.

"Withthis format the exhibitors are happy to have the two hours of networking timeand the general public is able to enjoy the Expo just as they always have,"Walker said.

Theday began with the annual Small Business Breakfast with guest speakerGeorge Makris of M. K. Distributors and Simmons First National Corp. Businessof the Year awards were presented in the categories of small (75 or feweremployees), large (more than 75 employees) and non-profit.

TheExpo also hosted a health fair sponsored by Jefferson Regional MedicalCenter, an exhibition of Jefferson County charitable organizations and theCommunity Spotlight.