TUPELO — More than 3,500 business people are expected to check out 75 or so exhibitors at the first annual Northeast Mississippi Business & Industry Expo, presented by the Mississippi Business Journal, at the Tupelo Coliseum June 8-9.
“Northeast Mississippi folks have rolled out the red carpet to work with us in putting the show together,” said Joe Jones, publisher. “Rarely have I had the opportunity of dealing with a more positive, enthusiastic group.”
The EXPO will kick off with breakfast featuring Mississippi Economic Council president Blake Wilson as keynote speaker. While working as executive vice president for the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Wilson developed the most sophisticated grassroots member legislative action program in the nation. The program, similar to one he is setting up in Mississippi, is capable of transmitting 10,000 faxes to state business leaders in less than three minutes.
“The kick-off breakfast is our way of saluting businesses and industries in the northeast area of our state that have made contributions to the economy and the way of life,” said Linda Jacobs, director of special events at MBJ. “We’re very fortunate to have Blake Wilson pave the way.”
Following breakfast, sponsored by BancorpSouth and the Mississippi Department of Economic and Community Development, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the doors will open at 9 a.m. The EXPO will close at 7 p.m. Tuesday; hours will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
“We decided to go to Tupelo because we have a large readership in the northeast area,” Jacobs said. “For example, the Golden Triangle (Starkville, Columbus and West Point) is growing every day with new industries and businesses, so we not only wanted to promote the Mississippi Business Journal in that area, we also wanted to partner with businesses and industries to help them to accomplish their goals.”
Similar programs are held each year in Memphis, Jackson, Hattiesburg and the Gulf Coast, said Jones.
“Expos offer an opportunity to network and learn about the latest in business products and services,” he said. “To visit all of our exhibitors individually at their place of business would take lots of time. Having everybody together at one place and time is the essence of business trade shows.”
Jones said that because his wife is from neighboring Corinth, he had a particular interest in northeast Mississippi. “I wanted to give northeast Mississippi a show of its own,” he said.
Image Interactive, a professional image consulting firm in Ridgeland, will present several seminars on professional image, communications, dining etiquette and related topics.
“The seminars we provide for the EXPO will be our standard model because we will be talking to a broad audience in different industries,” said Julie Mills of Image Interactive. “We want to help companies project the most professional image possible.”
Mills said communicating appropriately has become increasingly important because, “we have so many ways to communicate between pagers, cell phones, voice mail or e-mail.”
Image Interactive hooked up with the Northeast Mississippi Business EXPO because the company’s owners “saw a wonderful opportunity to introduce ourselves to the business community, particularly in northeast Mississippi and to showcase our services to all industries,” she said.
From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, the Northeast Mississippi Business EXPO will host Business After Hours, sponsored by Red Lobster, McAllister’s, Ramada Inn, Uptown Deli and O’Charley’s.
“The Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau has been very helpful assisting us in promoting the Expo in the northeast area and in Tennessee,” Jacobs said.
Main Street Florist in Tupelo will provide floral arrangement for the kick-off breakfast. Sunny 93.3 FM is co-sponsoring the EXPO. For more information, call 1-800-283-4625.