Business expo draws steady, large crowd

Their ears are just fine. Gino Colace and Tina Rhine had heard through the chamber about the Norwalk Area's Home and Business Show, and decided to participate Saturday for the first year.
Aaron Krause
Jul 25, 2010

Their ears are just fine.

Gino Colace and Tina Rhine had heard through the chamber about the Norwalk Area's Home and Business Show, and decided to participate Saturday for the first year.

Colace and Rhine represented Avada Audiology & Hearing Care, one of several businesses participating in the expo at Norwalk Middle School.

About 70 businesses, both newcomers and veterans of the event, experienced a steady flow of customers Saturday during the 7th annual Norwalk Area Home and Business Show. The event featured demonstrations and informational booths.

"It has not slowed down at all," Norwalk Area Chamber of Commerce representative Sandy Lonz said about four hours into the show. "Everybody's got cabin fever."

Dianne Stoll, a life-long Norwalk resident, is apparently one of them. She has been coming to the expo since it began.

"Everybody works hard to make it a good presentation and it is," she said.

Rhine estimated in four hours, more than 100 people stopped at Avada's booth.

"We'll be calling them or they'll be calling us for hearing tests," Rhine said.

The business, at 85 Benedict Ave., offers a complete line of hearing instruments, and a program called "Sound Advice."

It is an aural rehabilitation program designed to help the hearing impaired, their friends and families adjust to hearing loss and hearing instruments.

"It's nice to make the community aware that our service is available," Rhine said.

Jennifer McQuillen, of Mitchell and Sons Moving and Storage, was trying to do the same thing Saturday. It marked the first time a business representative from Mitchell and Sons attended, and McQuillen wasn't disappointed.

"This expo has been top-notch," she said.

McQuillen said she spoke to another business representative, who did not have time to visit other booths; the traffic was too steady and busy.

One of McQuillen's goals Saturday was to interact with other area merchants particularly in the real estate business.

"We're very relative to what's going on in the housing market," she said.

Not all businesses are rookies when it comes to the Norwalk Area Home and Business Show.

Hill's Interiors has sent a representative for all seven years.

"We feel it's important to be a presence here," interior decorator Becki Branum said. "It just keeps our face out there."

Branum said the event is convenient for people and, since it lasts only one day, it gives people a sense of urgency to come.

John Evans, co-owner of Evans Funeral Home, wanted a more relaxed, casual aura at his booth.

Evans, who has participated in the expo all seven years, said he's noticed people feel more comfortable discussing funeral options in a less formal setting.

"It gives people the opportunity to know that we're real people," Evans joked.