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Concord’s business community prepares for the city’s favorite trade show

Networking at Business After Hours at the Bank of NH StageAs we emerge from a strenuous winter, professionals in the Capital Region are eager to get back to business as usual. On March 8, after seeing a sharp decline in COVID-19 cases, the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce held its first networking event of the year. This Business After Hours event was incredibly successful, with over 150 professionals gathered together at the Bank of NH Stage in downtown Concord. The modern arts venue was the perfect setting for what felt like the biggest party of the year. Spirits were high, even with recommendations in place to wear face masks unless eating or drinking. With music playing, a bustling bar, and colored stage lights filling the open floor, professionals from every industry enjoyed lively conversation and networking.

“The energy that night was incredible,” said Chamber President, Tim Sink. “It was so refreshing to connect in the community again—away from a computer screen.” Many Chamber members couldn’t agree more. The Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce’s calendar for spring 2022 is full of opportunities for face-to-face networking, but one event stands out as a favorite for the local business community. After announcing the return of the Business Showcase trade show, members began emailing the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce to reserve booth spaces—even before sales had opened for the event!

For two years, the Chamber held Business Showcase in a virtual format. This was one of the first large-scale virtual networking events in the state, and paved the way for other innovative organizations to adapt their events to the pandemic. These online trade shows were very successful, using cutting-edge technology to create networking experiences that reflected in person events. “I absolutely LOVED the Business Showcase event,” wrote an exhibitor from the 2021 virtual trade show. “It was professional, easy to navigate and packed with fantastic resources and people.” Although these online adaptations allowed Chamber members to meet new customers and reconnect with colleagues and friends, the community couldn’t be happier to return to a more traditional iteration of the event.

The 31st Annual Business Showcase will be held on Monday, June 6 from 3-6 p.m. at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord. Although the Greater Concord community will be familiar with the venue, delicious food samplings and vibrant array of industries represented by event exhibitors, the 2022 trade show will offer a new flavor of networking opportunities. “Life has changed for businesses in the past 3 years,” said Chamber Events and Development Manager, Trieste Philbrook. “It’s our job to make sure that this event evolves and grows to better serve our members.”

New this year, the Business Showcase event will offer more than a trade show experience. Knowing that many business owners are struggling to hire, the Chamber has built a workforce development initiative into the event. Students from area schools will attend, meet with business leaders and have the chance to inquire about career opportunities. The event will also offer unique professional development opportunities. “People can step away from the show floor and attend a breakout session,” said Philbrook. A workshop schedule will be released in advance, allowing event attendees to plan their time. This benefit will add value to the affordable ticket prices—$5 for Chamber members and $8 for the public.

The festive atmosphere of the Chamber’s first networking event of 2022 was just a taste of what’s to come. Business Showcase will embody the joy of emerging from over two years of limited events for the business community. With a multitude of door prizes, numerous hospitality sponsors offering mouth-watering food samples, and event announcements from DJ Nazzy from Frank FM, Business Showcase exhibitors can anticipate the community to come out in full force to enjoy the energetic, friendly atmosphere that this popular event is known for. “Our exhibitors will reap the benefits of Concord’s enthusiasm for an event like this,” said Chamber President Tim Sink. All Chamber members are encouraged to reserve their booth space now for Business Showcase, as space is limited. The Chamber also expects new businesses to inquire about membership so that they can participate in this very special event. Learn more about Chamber membership by emailing membership@concordnhchamber.com.

“This fresh take on our biggest networking event of the year will give businesses the kind of leads that they haven’t seen for 3 years,” continued Sink. The Chamber is thrilled to pull out all the stops for this year’s Business Showcase, presented by Merrimack County Savings Bank and Unitil. Register to exhibit or attend the event on Monday, June 6 from 3-6 p.m. at concordnhchamber.com/business-showcase.

Incorporated in 1919, New Hampshire's state capital chamber of commerce—the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce—develops economic opportunities, strengthens the business climate and enhances quality of life in the Capital region.

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