The 2020 version of the Rome Floyd Chamber Business Expo, scheduled for Nov. 5, will be virtual only.
The chamber has been planning for the possibility for months and decided on Tuesday to abandon an attempt at including the traditional in-person event at the Forum River Center.
Chairman Scott Preston, market president for Synovus Bank, said they’ve been consulting with Dr. Gary Voccio from the Department of Public Health and other healthcare officials about COVID-19 trends. At this point, he said, it’s apparent that the right thing to do is to go virtual.
Chamber leadership has been working with Braden Keith of Romega Digital to create virtual vendor booths and make the Expo available to an even broader audience.
“This is an opportunity for the chamber to offer the best of innovation and technology experience,” said Scott Wheeler, expo chairman and owner of The Competitive Edge.
Around 75 to 80 companies will be participating in the event, according to Thomas Kislat, the chamber’s director of membership and entrepreneurial development. That is down from years gone by, but Kislat said a lot of companies that normally participate didn’t sign up for the Forum-based expo.
Tuesday’s decision to drop the in-person aspect also means the loss of the Business After Hours social, Kislat said. It’s held the night prior to the expo and has been one of the chamber’s largest networking events of the year.
People will be able to visit the virtual expo through the chamber website at www.romega.com. Each of the “booths” will have a scheduling area where visitors can make arrangements for in-person contact.
The annual Business Expo kicks off the holiday shopping season as the chamber seeks to raise awareness about the importance of shopping locally, particularly during the holiday season.
“Purchases that are made within the community help sustain jobs, and a portion of every dollar spent stays in the community,” said Chamber President Jeanne Krueger.
For questions about this year’s event and how to participate, contact Kislat through the website or at 706-291-7663.