The Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 25th annual Brandon Business Expo at the Florida State Fairgrounds on Thursday, offering a glimpse into what local shops and offices have to offer and a taste of Brandon independent restaurants.
Hundreds flocked in to the Charles M. Davis Special Events Center for an afternoon set aside to celebrate the small businesses so important to the greater Brandon area.
The trade-show style event featured everything from air conditioning repair to Columbian food, concierge care to scrumptious desserts, all handed out for the price of admission.
The show featured more than 200 exhibitors from Brandon, Bloomingdale, East Tampa, FishHawk, Lithia, Mango, Oak Creek, Riverview, Sabal Park, Seffner, Summerfield, Turkey Creek and Valrico.
Rob Carr, of Brandon, said he comes every year. Still, he was amazed at how many business are based in Brandon that he didn’t know about, Carr said as he munched on some ribs from Cheddars’ restaurant.
Fran LeGrand, also of Brandon, made her first trip to the Expo this year, packing her bag with free pens, flash drives and other giveaways.
“Everyone is very friendly,” she said. “It’s really nice so far.”
Chamber Vice President Laura Simpson said the Brandon Business Expo is the chamber’s largest single community outreach event. Some 1,500 visitors were expected to attend, giving business people an opportunity to speak to potential customers face to face.
During the taste-off, visitors nibbled on food from various local restaurants, including Italian, Latin and seafood dishes. The restaurant with the most votes will be deemed the winner of the 2013 Best Taste Award.