The Clayton Chamber of Commerce hosted its 13th annual Best of Clayton business and networking expo Monday, with more than 40 businesses and organizations participating.
Local businesses from Clayton and the surrounding area set up booths to promote and advertise their services to local residents and other businesses.
“Best of Clayton showcases the best businesses here in Clayton and members of the Chamber,” Clayton Chamber of Commerce executive director Ellen Gale said. “You don’t have to be located in Clayton to be a chamber member so we have a lot of businesses outside of Clayton as well. We’re sort of a regional chamber and we like to showcase all of the different businesses we have here.”
The free event gave those in attendance a chance to have lunch on the chamber by sampling food from some of the best restaurants in Clayton, taking home raffled off door prizes, including tickets to various events, and a chance to shop for the holidays.
On top of the free food, nearly every booth gave away free merchandise.
Some local businesses, including Midwest Regional Bank, set up a booth for the first time to connect with local patrons.
“I’m actually on the Board of Directors for the Clayton Chamber of Commerce and it’s important for us to support the group but also for us to get some recognition in the city,” said Brad McLaury, vice president of Midwest Regional Bank’s Clayton office. “We’re opening our branch next year, first quarter in Clayton and we’re excited to get new momentum as we’re in this new market. We’ve been here operating on the lending side but now we’ll have a full retail branch early next year.”
The event was also a chance for businesses to interact and network with one another, which has become a staple at the yearly event.
“One of the great things we hear about every year is the interaction between the vendors,” Gale said. “The businesses don’t normally get a chance to meet the other businesses unless you provide them with an opportunity to.”
Gale estimated around 500 to 1,000 chamber members were in attendance interacting with some of the best businesses Clayton has to offer.
“For us it’s great being a smaller local bank in St. Louis, sometimes it’s hard to get the word out about you, and something like this is a great way to meet those around you that will actually do business with you,” McLaury said.