FRANCONIA — There's nothing gritty, fanatical or swooping about the Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce Business Expo.

There will be a mascot meet-up, though. 

"Our businesses that have mascots are bringing their mascots," said Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Steven Hunsberger.

That includes mascots from Clemens Food Group, JBS, QNB, Harleysville Savings Bank, Univest and Dock Mennonite Academy, he said. 

It's a little something different for this year's expo, which will be 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1 at Indian Valley Country Club, he said. 

"Business is serious, but that does not mean that we can't have fun while we're doing business," Hunsberger said. 

There will be photo opportunities with the mascots, he said. 

"We'll have them walk through the exhibit hall periodically," he said. 

QNB will have its QuiNBy the Savings Squirrel mascot there, said Robert Zukowski, vice president and manager of the bank's Souderton branch office. 

The person who usually dons the costume isn't able to make it that day, so Zukowski's daughter, Ainsley, a senior at North Penn High School, volunteered, he said.

Zukowski said he'll be at the expo all day, with teams of other QNB employees spending parts of the day. 

"As folks come by, we talk about the bank," he said. 

"It's an excellent branding event," he said. "It's also an opportunity to network."

The expo is a showcase for the various businesses, Hunsberger said. 

"Whether they're service or construction or banking or insurance, whatever it happens to be, this is a good place to bring the community that may be looking for these services," he said. 

"It's also an opportunity for the businesses to get to know each other," he said, "so it's both business to business and business to consumer." 

Many of the exhibitors have giveaways for the attendees, he said. There are also games to engage those attending, he said. 

"It's a good place to meet new businesses. It's a good place to meet new people and make new connections," Hunsberger said.

A keynote program and networking buffet will again be held leading into the expo.

The program, beginning at 11:30 a.m., will be a panel discussion of young entrepreneurs, Hunsberger said. 

"It'll be a conversation among entrepreneurs that the audience will participate in," he said. 

The panel will be led by Scott Hackman, a business advisor and executive coach, who operates Scott Hackman Ventures, LLC. The panel members will be Jason Donmoyer, co-founder of Threddies; Andrea Hackman, president of One Village Coffee; Kyle Hoff, owner of Hoff Properties, LLC; and Courtnee Wampole, owner of Get It, Got It, LLC.

"I think that'll be a really interesting part of the day," Hunsberger said. "I think people like to hear about what are young entrepreneurs doing? Are they doing things differently?" 

All the panelists are Indian Valley Chamber of Commerce members, he said. 

Hoff, who started his business in 2012, said all the panelists are younger than 40.

Not everything about him is different than if he was older, he said.

"I do have certain old man characteristics," Hoff said. "I like old movies. I don't click on links."

He said it's good to see younger people getting involved, but that should extend beyond business to the community and government.

"When you look at the membership of some of these local municipalities, it's nobody in our generation," Hoff said.

The keynote and buffet are open to anyone, not just businesspersons, Hunsberger said. About 125 people generally attend, he said. Registration is required and may be done at www.indianvalleychamber.com

The expo's 1:30 to 5:30 time starts and ends a half hour later than in previous years. That makes it easier for some people to come after work, Hunsberger said.    

QNB is again this year the lead sponsor of the expo.

The focus of the 142-year-old business with 12 branch offices, including a recently opened one in Allentown, is on being a community bank, Zukowski said. 

"That's who we are. That's what we're about," he said.

   

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