Attracted as much by the new Waterford at Springfield facility as the chance to rub elbows with other companies, more than 45 businesses participated in the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce's annual Business to Business Trade Show on Tuesday, June 13.
Cealia Robertson, a jeweler, gemologist and independent distributor for Premiere Designs High Fashion Jewelry, said the show was a good way to "help teach people how to sell jewelry and build a business."
Robertson contracts with individuals to host jewelry shows in homes and gives the hostess a portion of the sales profits from that day, she said.
A few tables away, Alexandra Koury, marketing manager for MVLE, was explaining her company's job opportunities for adults with disabilities.
"We help individuals go out and work for a company like Waterford or Northrop Grumman," she said. "We do a lot of work in fast food, newspaper delivery, food preparation in some assisted living facilities."
After providing some job training, Koury said the workers are given long-term assignments with companies and are accompanied by a job coach, who helps them fine-tune their skills for the task at hand.
Contracting with MVLE "helps a nonprofit and it helps these people who need jobs directly," Koury said. "There's such an opportunity for inclusion in the business environment, which also helps us. Plus, it's really exciting to see how proud our workers are to go out and wear a uniform."
One familiar company, SignARama, was promoting a new company, WallPix, which takes wall murals and coverings in a different direction.
A thin, vinyl-like adhesive image featuring anything from family photos to a beloved vehicle to a company logo can be placed on a wall instead of wallpaper or plain paint, said Martin J. Saenz, whose business card calls him a "wallcovering guy."
The images can be textured to resemble a stucco or pebble finish, linen or left smooth, he said and if a homeowner or business decides to change the mural, it is simply peeled off the wall.
"This product has been in development for nine months and we're just now in a position to market it and start getting offers," said Saenz. "We actually just got a call from a guy who loves his Corvette and wants to know if we can make a mural from a picture to cover his garage wall."
Local business owners, like Betty Morales from Picture Perfect Pets, are starting to get interested.
"I'm always trying to get out there and do more things with the photos I'm taking," said Morales, who mostly photographs dogs but is starting to photograph more cats and horses. "This kind of thing would be great for veterinarian's offices, doggy day care places or for some of my clients."
Not all exhibitors were displaying their services: Marie Travesky was handing out information on behalf of Belvoir New Vision, detailing the upcoming changes to Fort Belvoir and the impact to be expected by the addition of 22,000 new people because of BRAC.
"People want to know what's going to happen," said Travesky, who said that many questions will remain unanswered until the Army decides where office buildings are being placed.
"This is an educational outreach effort," she said. "We want people to know about it and we want to make sure we address their concerns as much as possible."
Despite their location in Woodbridge, i-comm vice president Jan Adams joined the Chamber in Springfield in order to take advantage of all the planned revitalization in the area.
"There's going to be a lot of opportunities for business with all that," said Adams, whose company provides communication and security services.
"We're more about making a solution that will fit a company's needs than giving something that won't work," she said.
As a member of the Chamber's Board of Directors and the owner of The Emerald Group, an insurance and financial services provider, John Frazier said the show "gets better every year."
"There's a good number of people coming through, but I'm not sure if it's to see the businesses or to check out the Waterford," he laughed, referring to the newly opened conference and banquet facility. "Everything looks really good this year. There's a lot of quality people coming through, everyone's exchanging business cards."
The Chamber's executive director, Nancy-jo Manney, was happy with the turnout as well.
"A lot of this is networking," she said, but many people had come through for information on the KSI Midtown project, the changes to Fort Belvoir and revitalization projects across Fairfax County.
"It's really a great way to make sure people know what's happening in the community."