WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP | Another sold out show with more than 140 businesses rang in the Halloween season Thursday at the annual Porter County Chamber Network Night at the Porter County Expo Center.
Services ranging from medical, legal and financial to pest control, handmade candies and health drinks greeted hundreds of other business people looking to make and share contact information. Jeff Brant, president of the Northwest Indiana Home Building Association, said the event is about more than just promoting the trade organization.
"We want to promote home building and make sure codes are being enforced and are legitimate," Brant said. "We've also got home and lifestyle shows coming up in Lake and Porter counties that we are promoting. It's also a great venue for local businesses to show their wares and get support from the local community."
Vicky Gadd, HBA executive officer, said, "This is always a great show because it's business-to-business. Everybody has a good time, and it's an opportunity to get around and meet people, so it's worthwhile to be here."
Polly Rossi, owner of Meeting Achievements, a Valparaiso meeting and event planner, said, "It's more about forming relationships tonight. This is our first network night, and I thought it would be a good way to expose our name in town. We've done a lot of milestone events, but people tend to overlook you when the name is not out front."
"We've had a busy night already," Lee Ann Van Curen said after the first hour of the three-hour event. "The chamber does an excellent job of putting this together."
Mary F. Fetsch, St. Mary Medical Center marketing and community relations director, said the event enabled the hospital to let business people know what resources are available for businesses and their employees.
"Health care is more than going to the hospital when you need to," Fetsch said. "It's about being proactive, and, when you do need care, you want to choose the place with the best services. We're also community partners. More and more we have to work together to enhance the whole community, and, with the climate of health care today, businesses are concerned about what is available to them."
For Kimberley White, of Kernels and Kones, it was a chance to get clients for the corporate gifting program of providing employees with a variety of sweet treats for the holidays. Costumes, games and plenty of handouts all helped create what Valparaiso Chamber President Rex Richards called a high energy level for all.
"One of the reasons there is such a high energy level this year is that a lot of good things are happening in Porter County," Richards said, citing the expansion by Pratt Industries in Valparaiso and other companies. "There is a good feeling about what is going on, and when people feel good, they are interested in marketing and promoting their businesses."