Connections Made at Exposure 2017

Another rendition of the region’s premiere business-to-business trade show is in the books, and what a wonderful day is was! You could feel the energy in the air in Century II Expo Hall during Exposure, and with 215 exhibitors and 1,700+ attendees, it was the place to be in Wichita business. Below is a recap of some of the day’s highlights.

Making Connections, Growing Business
First-time exhibitor

The Hairy Sofa’s four-legged exhibitors were popular with other exhibitors and attendees alike.

Julie Breault with Heartland Animal Hospital and The Hairy Sofa Pet Grooming Boutique said participating in Exposure was a positive experience for her company. “I was very impressed with the number of exhibitors and attendees. I enjoyed meeting my fellow Chamber members and making connections with people I would not normally be exposed to. Thank you Wichita Chamber for making this a super successful event for my businesses.”

Reverie’s coffee catering bar earned their team an award during their inaugural year.

Reverie Coffee Roasters became a quick favorite on the show floor, even winning the Best Biz Bite Award. Kaitlyn Wall, Reverie’s Operations Manager, said, “We loved participating in Exposure 2017 because of all the new and familiar faces we met and look forward to working with. At Reverie, we try to find and create ways to connect with the community; this is a great event for getting out and making those connections with other local businesses!”

We love hearing success stories like these, and invite you to consider participating in next year’s show!

Award Winners
The Exposure Awards have become highly sought-after and the exhibitors listed below took home the titles.

  • Best Biz Bite: Reverie Coffee Roasters
  • Best Branded: K. Lane’s Boutique
  • Best In Show: Hyatt Regency Wichita
  • Best Spirited: Auto Craft Collision Repair
  • Best Tabletop: Personal Touch Events
  • Best Technology: World Studios
  • Rookie of the Year: Shaken or Stirred Bartending

Post-Event Content
Several exhibitors and attendees shared their Exposure experience after the event via blog and video. Thank you to these companies for taking time to create content from the show!

Thank you to the sponsors, exhibitors and attendees who helped make Exposure what it was, and a special thank you to the show’s Presenting Sponsor, Cox Business!

See photos from the event on our Facebook page, and save the date of Thursday, September 27 for Exposure 2018.

 

The Chamber of Commerce Works for All

Today is National Support Your Local Chamber of Commerce Day. To celebrate, we asked Board Member Joy Eakins to share why she chose to join the Chamber and become more involved in creating a better business community.

By Joy Eakins
President of Cornerstone Design & Development, Inc.

I once assumed the local Chamber was just for big business. Not long after I started my business, my husband’s employer invited us to join their table for the Annual Honors Night. As we discussed the evening on the way home, Eric told me I should look at joining the Chamber. So I did. That was six years ago.

I still remember my first event: the Small Business Owner Roundtable. The location: High Touch Technologies. The topic: How to Recruit and Retain Employees.

I had just moved out of my home office. I had one part-time staff member. My business cards were printed on my home printer. I was intimidated and I almost didn’t go.

Every year since, a photo from that event (below) has popped up on my Facebook page, and I have been reminded how glad I am that I went. That day, I discovered one of the greatest assets of Wichita – other fantastic business leaders who care deeply about their companies, their employees, their customers, and the direction of the city and the state. I found people who are compassionate and giving. And I found people who honorably carry the weight of business ownership.

As a small business owner, I know the isolation that comes from wearing all the hats – the HR department, accounting team, janitor, lawyer and sales all at the same time. I know what it’s like to come in on the weekends and finish the books or get a head start on the next week. The nagging fear that it might not work out. The joy of the goal accomplished!

And at the Chamber, I found other business owners who understood. I found people who were willing to share what they learned when it didn’t work out, and leaders willing to celebrate the triumphs when it did. I found community. 

Sure, there are large businesses in the Chamber. There are also middle-size businesses, small businesses and micro businesses. The Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce has worked hard to ensure that all of us have a voice in this Chamber community. The support, advocacy, and work of their team make each of us better at what we do.

Need a leadership book recommendation?

by Rachel Douglass
Director of Engagement

Joe Tortorice, Jr (pictured center) visited with Vanessa Barnard and 2017 Chamber Chairman Scott Schwindaman shortly before his September 28 speech. Tortorice and Barnard are both with Jason’s Deli.

Joe Tortorice, Jr., founder of Jason’s Deli, opened his September 28 Chamber Sunrise Scrambler presentation with his reason for keeping a daily gratitude journal – simply put, “because grateful people cannot be unhappy.” That uplifting and motivating tone permeated his entire speech.

According to Tortorice, the key to your business is the people behind it. While addressing a nearly 240-person crowd, Tortorice emphasized servant leadership by encouraging attendees to remember that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Attendees left the event inspired to focus on purposefully serving others with the simple reminder that investing in relationships will be fruitful for years to come.

A humbling inspiration to those he addressed, Tortorice gave a nod to the motivational authors he admires and even shared his recommended reading list:

Shackleton’s Way by Margot Morrell & Stephanie Caprell
The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
The Paradox of Power by Pat Williams
Integrity by Dr. Henry Cloud
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
The Servant by James Hunter
Why We Do What We Do by Edward Deci
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson
Living a Life that Matters by Harold Kushner
The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck
Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl
Servant Leadership by Robert K. Greenleaf
Good to Great by Jim Collins
A Curious Mind by Brian Grazer
The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith
The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle by James C. Hunter

A special thank you to Joe Tortorice for sharing his time and insights with us and to our sponsors who helped make this event possible:

Presenting Sponsor: Emprise Bank
Host Sponsor: Hyatt Regency of Wichita
Showcase Biz Sponsor: Davis-Moore Auto Group

Follow this link to a Carrie Rengers interview with Tortorice about his thoughts on life and leadership that ran in the Wichita Eagle on September 27.

Join us for our next Sunrise Scrambler on Wednesday, October 18 and plan to attend the November 15 Scrambler when we’ll hear from Dr. Alicia Thompson, Superintendent of Schools for USD 259.

Member Minute with Wichita Animal Action League

Member Minute profiles are meant to highlight Chamber member businesses in a format that can be read in a few minutes. This Interview was conducted by Intern Claire Harpool.

Wichita Animal Action League (WAAL) joined the Chamber in April of 2017. We sat down with Sarah Coffman (pictured), founder and executive director, in her new Town West adoption suite. Coffman said Wichita is a great place to be, especially with recent strides to becoming more animal friendly.

Tell me about your organization.
WAAL was founded in November of 2013, and we got our rescue license shortly after that. Our new store front is beneficial because it gives potential owners a place to come and meet the animals. People are coming to this location so they get to interact with the animals before they adopt them.

Where do you attribute your success?
Our volunteers and our foster parents. With the volunteers, I have learned if you ask for something, someone normally has a connection to get what we need. For example, volunteers painted our store and donated kennels.

Favorite Chamber event?
We’ve only been to one Chamber event so far, Exposure, and it was fantastic! We got to meet a lot of other businesses in town that could help us further our mission of rescuing animals in crisis. Plus, people loved the adoptable dogs we brought to the event and I think we might have found a few adopters and new fosters. It was great “exposure” for us!

Also, I loved our grand opening because everyone came out to the big ribbon cutting ceremony.

What has Chamber membership meant for your business?
A sense of credibility. When people donate to a nonprofit, it is sometimes difficult to know where your money is going and what it is doing. When people find out that we are a Chamber member, it lends a little more credibility that we are legitimate.

Where do you see your organization in five years?
I would really love to have small facility. Spaying and neutering is a really big focus for us with our Spay it Forward program, which pays for owners to have their animals spayed and neutered at no cost to them. So eventually I would love to have a spay and neuter clinic, with a small portion dedicated to housing animals upon intake and then moving them to foster homes.

On a scale of 1-10 how strongly would you recommend Chamber membership to a colleague?
I think it is really important for nonprofits. We have not been a member for long, but I can send the chamber staff an email about an idea I have and they help connect me with others who could help me execute it.

Complete this sentence: When a customer walks into my business they can expect_____?
Free kisses and cuddles! We have gotten a lot of foot traffic at our new location. When people walk by, they get this look on their faces; they want to come in but they know they can’t because then they will fall in love and adopt.

In your company involved in any community or civic committees?
I participate with the the Animal Control Advisory Board’s discussions, which recommends policy changes to Animal Control and City Council. That board is a double-edged sword because you want to keep people safe but you also want to give the animals a shot. I also am a part of the Spay and Neuter Advisory committee.

Anything else?
Last year we took 220 animals off of death row, and adopted out 172, so we have grown bigger every single year. This year we are on board to exceed both of those numbers, we also started our new Spay it Forward program, and by the end of the year we will have sterilized 274 dogs at no cost to their owners.

If you would like to get involved in the Wichita Animal Action League, follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @WAALRescue, or on their website waalrescue.org.

Would your company or organization like to be featured in a Member Minute profile? Just send your request or nomination to Courtney Sendall