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Belpre Business Expo returns | News, Sports, Jobs

Allison, left, and Jonathan Wood of Wood Heating and Air Conditioning spoke with Belpre Safety-Service Director Connie Hoblitzell during the Belpre Business Expo Monday at Boxers Bed and Biscuits. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

BELPRE — Businesses and residents gathered Monday for the fifth annual Belpre Business Expo — two years after the fourth one.

“With COVID shutting a lot of communication and networking and businesses down, this is a very good thing,” said Belpre Auditor Tina Nolan as she looked around at people visiting the tables of more than 30 vendors set up in the Training Room at Boxers Bed and Biscuits on Washington Boulevard. “It’s just great to see the smiles.”

Approximately 175 people came through the doors for the expo, said Karen Waller, executive director of the Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the event along with The Parkersburg News and Sentinel and The Marietta Times.

“Our goal was about 200, so we were right in there,” Waller said.

The expo was a chance for a variety of businesses and other entities to present themselves to the public, some of whom might not be aware of their services, she said.

Pamela Pritchett, a nurse with Mindfulness Holistic Wellness & Healing, demonstrated the healing touch technique on Boxers Bed and Biscuits manager Jessica Davis during the Belpre Business Expo Monday at Boxers. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

“I think people expect us to be only Belpre businesses,” she said, adding that wasn’t the case.

Representatives of Mindfulness Holistic Wellness & Healing in St. Marys attended to introduce themselves to folks in and around Belpre who might not be familiar with the business, which offers medication management as well as yoga and other alternative therapies. They fielded multiple questions, met new people and reconnected with others, said Donna Linsell, chief operating officer.

“I always love networking,” she said. “I’ve seen lots of people I haven’t seen in a while.”

The same was true for Nancy Arthur, owner of Advantage Real Estate in Marietta.

“It’s nice to get out and see faces,” she said. “It’s amazing how many people are here.”

Community members talked with vendors during the Belpre Business Expo Monday at Boxers Bed and Biscuits on Washington Boulevard. Approximately 175 people came through the doors during the two-and-a-half-hour event. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

Arthur said she didn’t expect anyone to walk up to her table at the expo and say, “Hey, I want you to sell my house,” but she hoped to get reacquainted with the community so that when they have that need they might think of her business.

“I’d like to see a few new leads, possibly gain some new customers,” said Jonathan Wood, owner of Wood Heating and Air Conditioning in Marietta. “The is the first (event like this) we’ve done since COVID and everything.”

It wasn’t just businesses who set up at the expo. Bobette Grimm and Vicki Boggs manned a table on behalf of the Belpre Lions Club.

“It’s a wonderful way to let the community know that we’re still here,” said Grimm, the group’s president. “We’d love to have them as Lions.”

The group does projects to assist people with vision and hearing impairment and children with cancer, as well as plant trees to improve the environment, Grimm and Boggs said.

“Next year we’ll have been in the Belpre area for (70) years, and we’ve been doing what our motto is: We serve,” Grimm said.

Lisa Northcraft, advertising director for the News and Sentinel and Times, said she was glad to see face-to-face events like the expo return.

“I think we had a great turnout,” she said.

Evan Bevins can be reached at [email protected]

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