More than 80 suburban businesses set the table for prospective clients Thursday evening during the third annual Northwest Suburban Hospitality Expo at the Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows.
The event, sponsored by the Daily Herald Business Ledger in partnership with Meet Chicago Northwest, showcased the suburban hospitality industry to business representative's looking to plan events ranging from corporate meetings to holiday parties. About 750 people snacked on food samples, sipped wine, and talked to representatives of businesses ranging from conference centers and hotels to caterers, restaurants and promotional product suppliers.
The Chicago Wolves hockey team drew a steady crowd to its table throughout the evening and eventgoers got to meet team mascot Skates and take a chance at shooting a hockey puck into a goal.
"We figured shooting the puck would bring people over to us," said Richard Champione of the Wolves, who was touting the teams' promotional packages for holiday and birthday parties.
It was the Wolves' first Expo appearance, and Champione said they will likely be back next year. 'We love it so far," he said.
While Sherie Shapiro of the Northwest Chapter of the Chicago Lyric Opera didn't have much luck scoring a goal at the Wolves table, she and fellow attendee Bonnie Zeitlin said they were impressed with the Expo's offerings. The two said they have attended all three Northwest Chicago Expos and were impressed with how big it has grown.
"We come here to look for vendors to help us with upcoming fundraisers," Zeitlin said. "Everybody here is so friendly and cheerful."
John Krol of Whirlyball, who has had an exhibit at all three Expos, said the event has been a great resource for his business with locations in Lombard and Vernon Hills. Krol notes the event provide him an opportunity to let people new to the Expo know about the business, and let those who have been to previous ones know his business is still around.
"It's terrific ... it's like coming home," Krol said. "We feel like family here."
And while vendors and attendees all touted the networking potential, Chef Steven Gill of Hofbrauhaus in Rosemont noted an additional advantage.
"We had people come here (and sample the restaurant's sausage and sauerkraut), and they came back later with somebody else," Glll said. "The networking is great."
Business Ledger Hospitality Expo Director Chris Craven said it was the largest event held in terms of attendance.
"This is a great opportunity for the exhibitor and event and meeting planners to get together to build relationships in order to plan corporate events and meeting throughout the year," Craven said.