Networking is the name of the game at Expo

Busi­ness Expo is boom­ing: Michelle DeSi­mone (right) and Christy Mc­Cabe at the Great­er North­east Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce Expo on May 8. MARIA POUCH­NIKOVA / TIMES PHO­TOS

Hun­dreds of people turned out at Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity on May 8 to mingle, chat, net­work and nosh at the Great­er North­east Phil­adelphia Cham­ber of Com­merce’s 91st Busi­ness Expo. They also got to meet former Eagles great Ron Ja­wor­ski.

More than 100 busi­nesses and non­profits greeted the event’s at­tendees with in­form­a­tion, free­bies and nibbles in­side the Frank­ford Av­en­ue school’s gym. A good cross-sec­tion of busi­nesses was rep­res­en­ted — print­ers to hard­ware stores to Hoot­ers to an arena foot­ball team, the Phil­adelphia Soul.

Net­work­ing is, of course, one reas­on to set up a table at the an­nu­al expo, said cham­ber pres­id­ent Al Tauben­ber­ger.

“Mak­ing con­nec­tions is what it’s all about,” he said. “This is how you grow your busi­nesses … and it’s also where you meet new cus­tom­ers,” he ad­ded.

Gav­in Wolfe, co-own­er of Three Mon­keys, was do­ing that big time. The aromas of the James Street res­taur­ant’s chick­en wings and braised beef ra­vi­oli drew a crowd to his table.

The feed­back from those who sampled the wings and ra­vi­oli as well as the sweet “mon­key bread” was pretty good, he said.

Tout­ing a busi­ness wasn’t the only busi­ness go­ing on at the expo. Try­ing to help busi­ness was on at least one agenda.

Curtis Gregory, dir­ect­or of the city’s Of­fice of Busi­ness Ser­vices, and Sam Chueh, an OBS busi­ness ser­vice man­ager, worked the room, talk­ing up what they could to help en­tre­pren­eurs set up their busi­nesses in Phil­adelphia — and thrive.

OBS, set up to help busi­ness people ad­just to the city’s taxes, forms and reg­u­la­tions, is a sur­prise to some, Gregory and Chueh said.

“I didn’t know you’re there,” is a com­ment both men said they heard fre­quently.

Tauben­ber­ger said al­most 500 at­ten­ded the expo, and there were some dig­nit­ar­ies among them. State Reps. John Sabat­ina and Ed Neilson were there along with the con­sul gen­er­als of Ger­many and Mex­ico, the deputy con­sul of Is­rael and a trade spe­cial­ist from the U.S. Com­merce De­part­ment.

In­ter­na­tion­al pack­aging com­pany Crown Hold­ings was the expo’s title spon­sor. Oth­er spon­sors in­cluded Naz­areth Hos­pit­al, Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity, 3rd Fed Bank, Aria Health, the Pennsylvania Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­ation, Wawa, Sand­mey­er Steel Co. and Clear Chan­nel Out­door. ••

Re­port­er John Loftus can be reached at 215-354-3110 or

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