Source: Sherman Publications

Come network, shop at Coffee Club Expo

by Phil Custodio

April 13, 2011

Orion (Oxford, Clarkston and Orontonville) Coffee Club members have been making connections together for over a year.

Now, it’s time to spread the word to the rest of the community.

They’ll have that chance at the inaugural Coffee Club Expo, 4-8 p.m., Thursday, April 28, at Clarkston United Methodist Church, 6600 Waldon Road.

More than 50 area businesses signed up, offering computer, attorney, insurance, automobile, nutrition, wellness, counseling, restaurant, and many other services.

Tom Kiihr, owner of Signs Now - Waterford, provides signs for the expo, with retractable banners, tabletop displays, and other products.

“Everything we do is custom – it’s not a one-size-fits-all industry,” said Kiihr, booth 46. “The Expo is a great idea for community.”

John Weiler and other members of North Oakland Business Network will be at Booth 33, offering life insurance, real estate, reverse mortgage, travel, document shredding, financial management, and other services.

“It’s a great idea to develop business – this is a great group here,” Weiler said.

Rob Schroeder, specializing in home repair, paint, and other maintenance services, plans to just bring himself.

“My services speak for themselves,” said Schroeder, Booth 40. “When all is said and done, that’s what it’s all about.”

The Coffee Club and Expo are good ways to support local businesses, said John Mathers of Mathers Insurance, Booth 32.

“I find more and more people care about that,” Mathers said. “I love the Coffee Clubs – the people are fantastic.”

Gary Zirwes, health coach and Nutrilite representative, offers certified organic food supplements.

“These are a hundred percent guaranteed to work,” he said. “I’m excited about the Expo. I’m looking forward to it. It’s a good way to grow your business, bring the community in and support businesses in our own community.”

Organized by The Clarkston News and ClarkstonTV.com, the Expo is for residents to sample local businesses and start their own networking.

“As with the Coffee Club meetings, the Expo has no rules or regulations,” said Jill Mitchell, one of the organizers.

Everyone is encouraged to bring business cards and network, whether signed up with a booth or not, Mitchell said.

“We want everyone to come down,” she said. “This is something Sherman Publications is doing for the community. It’s a great way to meet all the interesting small-business owners from all around here, meet your neighbors, make friends. That’s the whole idea. It’s a win-win for everybody.”

“You don’t have to get a booth, no fees, nothing’s required, just come down and pass out your cards,” said Norm Pardo, organizer.

Local government agencies and all non-profit groups are also encouraged to participate, Pardo said.

“We’re looking for police, fire departments, the Optimists, SCAMP, Rotary, any non-profit organization that wants to come pass out information,” Pardo said. “We want all of them to come down and meet people. Let’s have coffee.”

A table directory is posted at Coffeeclubexpo.com, as well as contact information for everyone who’s attended any of the Coffee Club meetings over the past year – more than 600 in all.

“It’s going to be an exciting four hours,” said David Thompson, who joined the Clarkston Coffee Club late last year to share information about his video production, postproduction, and consulting businesses. “It’s a great opportunity to meet local business owners, develop relationships, and get your message out.”

The Expo is an important way to connect with the community and let people know what services are available, said Justin Morgan.

“It’s surprising how many don’t know what’s out their back door – most look in the phone book,” Morgan said. “To be successful, you have to make sure people know about you by working together with the community. Connections do matter. We’re all in this together.”

For more information, check Coffeeclubexpo.com or call 248-625-3370.