Apopka is booming.
Both in population and business, the second largest city in Orange County is in a growth spurt the likes of which has not been seen in Central Florida in some time.
But sometimes growth spurts also come with growing pains.
In the case of business, it can be challenging to connect to the community in a meaningful way, except to open your doors each day and hope customers find you. But tomorrow evening the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting an event designed to help consumers and businesses come together.
“When I came on board, there were a lot of things the business community and the chamber were missing,” said Robert Agrusa, President of the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce. “Our activities didn’t reflect what the business community really wanted to see happen. We have a lot of small and medium-sized businesses and many of them are in the retail service industry. They’re growing, but part of the problem is to find a way to reach out to the Apopka residents. If you are a small business, you may be stretched thin and not have an operation to get out into the community, so when we looked at doing events to help connect businesses to the community, we thought of no better example than doing a Business Expo.”
The Apopka Area Business Expo starts at 5 PM tonight at the VFW/Apopka Community Center at 519 South Central Avenue. It’s an after-hours event that will feature area businesses introducing themselves to the community, and will allow local businesses to showcase their products and services to the public, build strong business relationships, and provide detailed information face-to-face about their business.
And the idea has taken off according to Agrusa.
“It’s a true business-to-consumer networking opportunity. As a chamber, we do a lot of business-to-business events, but there aren’t a lot of avenues out there for businesses trying to sell to the consumer, so we wanted to do this as an important initiative in my first year to bring this Business Expo back. And certainly, you can see the excitement by the number of businesses participating.”
56 businesses, in fact, are participating in the Expo and they range in size from small startups to large corporations.
“There is a diverse group participating including businesses from the retail, real estate, banking, insurance, and healthcare industries,” said Agrusa. You’ll see a variety of businesses participating.”
Even the 5 PM starting time is designed to assist both the business community and consumers to come together without interrupting their weekday schedules.
“We decided to do it in the evening so that the community could come out after work and support the Expo… and the business owners could participate without missing their traditional 9 to 5 business day,” Agrusa said. “If it goes well I’d like to see the Business Expo become an annual event.”
It’s the first Business Expo in over 10 years according to Agrusa.
Admission is free to the public.
Here is a list of participating businesses:
- 1520 WBZW (Salem Media)
- 24 Hour Fitness
- Abacus Accounting LLC
- Alan Byrd & Associates
- Always Consulting Promotion Items
- Apopka Business Inc. Quick Mart
- Arrowsmith Realty
- Associates in Dermatology
- Aurora InfoTech LLC
- B-6 Fit Training
- Baldwin Fairchild Funeral Home
- Baptiste Orthodontics
- CareerSource Central Florida
- Central Florida Audiology
- Central Florida Educators FCU
- China Import Services LLC
- Cinq Group Recruitment
- Cobblestone Insurance Agency
- Columbia College – Orlando
- Cruise Planners
- Debbie Turner Cancer Care
- DJ’s Unlimited
- East Lake Chamber of Commerce
- Edible Arrangements
- Fast Signs
- Florida Community Bank
- Florida Door Solutions
- GrayRobinson P.A.
- Herzing University
- Highland Memory Gardens
- Hollis Kendall Agency
- Insight Credit Union
- Ladybird Academy Rock Springs
- Long and Scott Farm
- Marden Ridge Apartments
- Orange County Clerk of Courts
- Orange County Property Appraiser
- Orlando Health
- Pet Care Center of Apopka
- Priority One Homes
- Rebounderz Apopka
- Sam’s Club of Apopka
- Seacoast Bank
- Smile Concepts Orthodontics
- Swift Dry
- The Apopka Chief and The Planter
- The Apopka Voice
- The Mortgage Firm
- Valencia College Continuing
- Victory Martial Arts
- Waste Management
- We Insure Apopka