SACC 2019 Business Expo draws steady crowd 

By Mike McHugh

SWANSBORO—It didn’t take long for the 2019 Business Expo title sponsor to get a return on their investment.

Within in the first 15 minutes after the doors to the Swansboro Rotary Civic Center opened at 10 a.m. on Feb 23, Sanders Ford Automotive Specialist Greg Dawson had already had three prospective car buyers check out the new rides he brought to the one-day event. Two days later they were at the Swansboro showroom taking the keys to their new Ford.

“This was probably my seventh or eighth business or trade show and without a doubt it was the best,” Dawson said.

Dawson along with nearly 60 other vendors fielded questions and handed out marketing collateral to a crowd estimated around 1,500 patrons.

The all-day event was produced by the Swansboro Area Chamber of Commerce.

“This is the only show we participate in,” said Nancee Allen from the Emerald Isle Wine Market.

While Allen her team have been exhibitors ever since the Expo started more than 20 years ago, some newcomers found the venue the perfect place to showcase their craft or business.

Sarah Giordano, owner of Paint It Pretty Workshop flew her mother down from New Jersey to assist with the Business Expo. Giordano brought a bevy of unique and interesting, original artwork much of which is fashioned from wooden pallets. 

“We brought out a little of everything,” Giordano said Friday afternoon after she filled her corner booth with attractive pieces of art.

Saturday morning, patrons quickly bought some of her pieces and hefted them around the spacious Rotary floor. And as is the foot traffic in her booth and exposure to her new Swansboro-based business wasn’t good enough, Her mom, Pat Shaw, was the lucky ticket holder of the 50/50 drawing taking back to New Jersey a tidy sum of $1,445—though she promised to split the pot with her daughter.

Patrons who arrived at midday or spent the entire day inside the rotary were offered food samples from area restaurants and caterers such as Mrs. Vingerber’s Sweets, Bamboo Asian House, Boro Restaurant & Bar, Las Fincas Mexican Restaurant, Papa John’s and The Trading Post.

Friday night’s preview party was catered by Moore’s Old Tyme Barbeque. Moore’s came back on Saturday to dish out samples of BBQ and Brunswick stew.

Booths that were set up Friday afternoon were rated for “Best in Show” and for “Most Informative” by a 3-judge panel comprised of Ann Herrick, Cyndi Schachter and Linda Freeman.

The judges bestowed blue ribbons on Carolina Home & Garden for Best in Show with the Most Informative honor going to the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

The show also saw a couple four-legged exhibitors walking the floor. Brigadoon Animal Hospital brought out the practice’s owner Dr. Lisa Morton along with Drs. Laura Bailey and Timothy Pearson. Bailey’s cat Archie walked the floor on a lease while Pearson’s pup, Luna, preferred to be carried through the crowds. Morton’s doggie, Penny stayed close to the booth on her doggie bed.

With the 2019 Business Expo in the proverbial rear-view mirror, chamber members and staff are now setting their sights on the 2020 events tentatively slated for Feb. 22, at the Swansboro Rotary Civic Center.

Contact Mike McHugh at 910-326-1174 or email