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bizX gears up for second year

Mirror file photo by Gary M. Baranec / Steve Sheetz (right) was the featured speaker at the first ever bizX, which was held in 2018 at the Blair County Convention Center. After his speech, Sheetz chatted with representatives from area companies, including Keith Walker of State College. bizX is returning for its second year, and this year it will be held at Penn State University’s Pegula Ice Arena.

UNIVERSITY PARK — Area businesses are gearing up for bizX II.

The trade show, a joint effort between the Blair County Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County, will be held Sept. 26 at Penn State’s Pegula Ice Arena.

The event kicks off with a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. and the show will be open to the public from 1 to 5 p.m.

Subtitled “Your Business. No Boundaries,” this year’s show will feature about 100 exhibitors, a variety of seminars and a keynote luncheon, as well as Corridor Cuisine.

The “Business After Hours” portion that was part of last year’s show was eliminated from this one.

The keynote speaker will be Joe Battista, noted author and a former vice president of hockey and business administration for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League.

Battista is a 1983 graduate of Penn State with 30 years of coaching experience and is a member of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Game.

“He was our first choice for our keynote speaker. As a father, coach and published author, we knew he would start the day off with an amazing amount of positivity and encouragement for all the attendees,” said Irene Miller Wetzel, CBICC vice president membership engagement.

The two chambers have pledged to make bizX an annual event. The first was held last year at the Blair County Convention Center.

“We thought there was potential for a good event. We got a great event instead,” said Stacy Hoover, the Blair chamber’s vice president of events and technology. “We thought it went very well, we were very pleased. There was a lot of interaction between the attendees and the exhibitors among themselves.”

CBICC is excited to host this year’s event.

“This event is a great collaboration between the CBICC and Blair County Chamber of Commerce, with our adjacent counties along the I-99 corridor, it is a natural fit for our members who routinely do business together,” Wetzel said. “Attendees will be able to grow their networks and skills with an entire day of business-to-business conversations and four free seminars.”

This year’s event will be slightly smaller than last year’s.

“It will be a little smaller due to the venue. We are only using the concourse area, which has less space,” Hoover said.

Hoover said there are a lot of repeat vendors and some new vendors this year.

Lake Raystown Resort of Entriken and Damin Printing Co. of Ebensburg are excited to return.

“We thought bizX was a huge success last year. It was well attended and led to Lake Raystown Resort booking some valuable meetings in our conference center,” said Dan Genditzki, Lake Raystown conference and events director.

“We also found the connections with other vendors to be very valuable. We look to other vendors to fit the needs of our guests as well. It was mutually beneficial all around. I know I wanted to be involved again for 2019,” Genditzki added.

“We found the bizX expo last year to be very beneficial to our business. Not only were we able to showcase our products and services, but we were able to network with other local businesses. We are very excited for the upcoming show in State College and we hope it will be a great success for all involved,” said Suzanne Sakmar, Damin Printing marketing manager.

Last year’s event was also beneficial to Moore Power Sales of Altoona

and Keystone Payroll of State College.

“The I-99 corridor showcase allows me to have my footprint in both Blair and Centre counties at the same time. It exposes me to people I typically would not have met otherwise — potential clients and customers,” said Moore Power Sales owner John Moore. “It led to a greater following, it increased my following on LinkedIn and direct mail, it has broadened my footprint and raised awareness.”

“It is nice exposure for us as a company to reach out to other small business owners. This gives us an opportunity to bond and network. It was a very positive environment with Blair and Centre counties combining forces, it was very positive,” said Missy Etters, payroll specialist for Keystone Payroll. “I gained through networking. People that were here sent me people who became customers over the year.”

AnswerLinks Inc., Hollidaysburg, had planned to participate in last year’s event, but due to a last minute emergency was unable to participate.

“AnswerLinks is participating in bizX because we are thrilled about the collaboration between the Blair and Centre county chambers. The event gives us an opportunity to meet with our existing customers as well as work with an area that we historically haven’t had many customers in. Centre county is a very large growth area for AnswerLinks,” said Megan Jones, vice president and chief growth officer.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.

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