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Networking, great food and music on tap at Business After Hours

Business After Hours is a popular event each year at the EXPO. A packed house is expected again when the super networking party begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday. This year’s sponsors are the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership, Business Communications Inc. (BCI), and WLBT-TV 3. The festive reception is a great way to end a day at the EXPO with outstanding networking opportunities while feasting on dishes from some of Jackson’s best restaurants and listening to music.

The Trade Mart will be filled with the soulful music of Jewel Bass and These Days, a favorite area music group. WLBT-TV 3’s newscaster Howard Ballou will serve as celebrity master of ceremonies for this party and other EXPO events.

‘Effective and efficient marketing tool’

Sporting a new name, the chamber will be there in full force to celebrate the EXPO’s 25 years, according to Linda Raines, director of membership services. “Our ambassadors, employees and members will help any way we can,” she said. “We’re letting people know about the EXPO and Business After Hours on our Web site and in our newsletter. It’s something we look forward to every year.”

In its first outing as an EXPO sponsor, BCI has chosen to be involved with a really popular part of the trade show. “With the continuing growth of the MBJ EXPO, it becomes a more effective and efficient marketing tool for BCI,” said vice president Tom Hinds. “The opportunity to be one of the headline sponsors of Business After Hours — one of the signature events — was a no brainer for us.”

Fabulous food, fun event

Pan Asia is one of several Jackson restaurants that will serve tasty dishes at Business After Hours. Owner Grant Nooe promises fabulous food and a fun event.

“We will be serving sesame seared sushi-grade tuna with cashew cilantro coulis and spicy Thai pineapple fried rice among other dishes we know those attending will enjoy,” he said. “We have participated in the EXPO every year since we opened.”

His restaurant opened almost five years ago on County Line Road in Ridgeland, and will be moving into a new space this spring. The new location, now under construction, is on Harbor Crossing off Old Canton Road and will increase the facility’s space from 3,000 square feet to 8,500 square feet.

“Our restaurant has been well received, and we will be able to do much more in the new location,” Nooe said. “We will go from 110 seats to 350 seats total. We’re adding a sushi bar, banquet facilities and lounge area with outdoor seating.”

Pan Asia serves authentic food from Asia that includes Thailand, Mongolia, Viet Nam, India and Taiwan, and, with the addition of the sushi bar, Japan. Asian fusion — using local food such as fresh Gulf fish with an Asian twist — is also part of the mix.

Jackie’s International/Western Sizzlin’ will also be at Business After Hours, serving crowd-pleasing dishes from its mainstay menus.

“We are involved with the EXPO because the event gives us a great opportunity to showcase what we can do for catering and banquet services,” said marketing director Amber Sukhbaatar. “The Business After Hours event held on Wednesday is fantastic and a fun change of pace for all of us in the restaurant business.”

Raines said this event in particular is an excellent way to say hello to many of the chamber’s members and tell them about chamber events of the coming year. It’s also a way to bring in new members.

Founded in 1993, BCI is a full-service information technology provider with a staff of 165 technology professionals. It’s headquartered in Ridgeland and has offices in Gulfport, Birmingham, Memphis, New Orleans, Little Rock, Mobile and Shreveport.

“We’re one of the Southeast’s leading providers of business communications, technology services and structured cabling,” Hinds said. “With a client list numbering more than 3,000, including universities, medical centers, government entities, financial institutions, manufacturers, corporations and large-to-small retail outlets, BCI assists public and private sector businesses in fully utilizing best practices and the most current technological innovations.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.


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