Success in the City – Naples Chamber of Commerce Annual Trade Show

Have you ever dreamed of being able to travel from Goodlette Frank Rd. to Collier Avenue in a matter of seconds?  Then taking a quick right turn and being at Third St. SouthWelcome to the Trade Show two minutes later?  Well, had you had attended the Naples “Success in the City” trade show on August 18th, you could have actually experienced this brain-warping sensation yourself; if only for a few hours.  This year, the Naples Chamber held its annual trade show at the Naples Beach Hotel.  For the show’s theme, the entire lobby and two adjoining ballrooms were converted into a replica of the streets of Naples, complete with street signs.

Even though the streets were impossibly close to each other, it certainly didn’t mean they were without traffic!  The show was open to the public, and was probably the most well-attended trade show I’ve been to since I moved here 7 years ago.  I got there relatively early, and still had to park nearly a mile down S Golf Drive.  By the time the show got swinging, I’m guessing people had to park in Coastland Mall just to find a spot!  The turnout was phenomenal, and the show was packed with both exhibits and patrons for the full four hour duration of the event.  There were over 150 booths in the show, which is probably why the estimated 1,200 attendees didn’t slacken off near the end, as is sometimes the case with smaller trade shows.

Upon entering the lobby, guests were greeted by a human-sized walking, talking robot, presented by Waste Management (www.wm.com). It took me a while to locate the robot’s operator, who was having a blast surprising new arrivals with a barrage of light-hearted insults and jokes.  The robot proved to be a fitting mascot of sorts for the show, which included a greater variety of exhibits than usual.  For example, the Naples Soap Co. (www.naplessoap.com) was actually giving out free samples of their hand-made scented soaps.  Both the Humane Society (http://humanesocietynaples.com) and the Naples Zoo (http://www.napleszoo.com) were there with animal-themed exhibits.  Several of the larger companies such as First National Bank (http://www.fnbofgc.com) had prize spinners with very nice grand prizes for lucky attendees.  Florida Virtual School (www.meLearningMore.com) was even giving out a small device which can be used to clean computer monitors and keyboards.  Now, how come I didn’t think of that?

The Naples Beach Hotel deserves special recognition for offering to host such a massive event under their roof.  Their staff was courteous and helpful, and delicious food was served in Naples Businessesmultiple locations throughout the event.  It was amazing how smoothly the entire event was run.  The coordination between theNaples Chamber and the Naples Beach Hotel must have been extensive in order to successfully accommodate so many people in such a small space.  Everyone involved seemed to be enjoying themselves, and I, myself made several wonderful new business connections.  I am sure that almost no one escaped the event without trading at least a few business cards.

I had the opportunity to visit nearly every booth at the show, though a few of them really stood out to me.  I’d like to extend a special thanks to the following people, whom I particularly enjoyed speaking with.  These folks are all wonderful people to work with, whose products or services stood out in my mind as being unique or of high quality:

Paul Nicodemi

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