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Article updated: 10/11/2013 8:15 AM

Hospitality expo attracts hundreds of visitors in Glen Ellyn

By Kim Mikus

Hundreds of people attended one of the largest hospitality expos in the suburbs Thursday at Abbington Banquets in Glen Ellyn.

More than 600 people mingled amid 90 vendors at the upscale event designed to inform about all aspects of the hospitality industry. Exhibitors ranged from area hotels and restaurants to entertainment centers, event planners and promotional product suppliers.

"The place is packed. The attendance is great," said Frank Cosenza, sales manager at Buca di Beppo in Lombard, while serving salad, pasta and tiramisu. "There are a lot of food vendors here," he said.

Exhibitor Judy DeVoe, president of Spare Wheels Transportation, said the food selection was "wonderful." She added she had tremendous interest in her business from attendees.

Guests, many of them in the hospitality industry, said the expo was a great networking opportunity.

"The event was better than last year," said Stephen Olenczuk of Pacific Atlantic. "We've used many of these vendors and I got some ideas for new ones," he said.

Several participants commented on the energetic atmosphere.

"There is a really good vibe. There is an energy in the room," said Jim Grillo, president of Hereschicago.com.

"This year's expo provided meet and greet opportunities for meeting professionals in the suburban Chicago marketplace," said Chris Craven, Daily Herald Business Ledger team leader and director of the expo.

Many of the participants noted the timing was right for companies looking to plan holiday parties.

"The timing is good," said Valerie Braun, business development manager at Arena Americas.

Organizers said the event was a great way to highlight an array of services.

"I thought it was an excellent opportunity for the hospitality industry to showcase their products and services," said Skip Strittmatter, executive director of the DuPage Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Daily Herald Business Ledger sponsored the event with the DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau. In an effort to accommodate businesses further north, a second expo is planned in Rolling Meadows on Nov. 14. That event takes place at the Meadows Club.

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