The Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce held its annual Business Expo Thursday in Plattsburgh. WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley checked in with some exhibitors on their perspectives regarding the economy.
In the nearly 200 booths spread out across the SUNY Plattsburgh Field House, businesses are displaying wares and brochures from banking and insurance information to IT and travel. It’s the annual opportunity to network, attend workshops or learn about the newest enterprises in the region. Many of the attendees appear optimistic about the future and the region’s economy.
West Bay Financial Partner and Financial advisor Joe Garcia says most of his clients are seeking advice on income and retirement planning. “I think everybody’s concerned about the economy. Probably more people are concerned about the presidential election right now but that really won't affect investments as much as the economy. I think for the most part the economy is looking much better than it has in a while and we can look forward to things getting better as we go along.”
Triple-A Northway Travel Agent Liz Brown finds that people are still traveling despite a barrage of negative news from across the globe. “The trend has shifted. It used to be all cruises or all all-inclusives and now I'm finding a bigger pull toward river cruises in Europe, national parks here in the United States. I think people have just resigned themselves to the fact that they're not going to give in to whatever's going on and just go travel. And I think it comes to a point where no matter when you turn on the T.V. there's something bad going on somewhere. And most people have decided that they're just going to travel anyway.”
Chris Shaffer and his wife opened Optimal Payroll Services last October. “Plattsburgh’s a growing community again I believe. I've been here all my life and I love Plattsburgh. And I see great things for Plattsburgh and there's so much room for growth. You see it every day. There's new developments everywhere. And if you said that ten years ago when the base had left and things were just seeming like everybody was going in the other direction, I think we've done a complete 180 in the region and it's wonderful to see.”
The Chamber invites its members from across Clinton, Franklin, Essex, Hamilton and northern Warren counties to the Business Expo.
Franklin County IDA Board Chairman John Child says it helps their networking. But he’s also finding that there are some differing concerns in the 50-mile gap between his home base and the expo. “We're from Malone fifty miles away. Probably one of the bigger issues for people in my area is the minimum wage. I think there's a lot of good to be said for it and I think that there are people that rely on minimum wage workers where it's going to be a problem. So that's an issue. People in our area aren’t involved a great deal in trade at this particular point. I'm sure that that will come up at some point.”
This was the 28th year the Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce has hosted the Business Expo.