Joann Hartley went to Aiken Expo 2000 in search of a job, but instead left feeling like a whole new woman.
"I'm leaving much happier than when I got here," she said.
Chiropractor Jay Rising is the reason for Mrs. Hartley's jubilation. The Aiken doctor helped alleviate her stiff neck and cut her shoulder pain in half -- all in less than 10 minutes.
Dr. Rising was one of about 50 exhibitors at the Business and Industry Services Show, sponsored by the Aiken Chamber of Commerce and the city of Aiken. The H. Odell Weeks Activity Center was filled Thursday with smiling business representatives hawking their goods and services.
"I enjoy this much better than being in the office," Dr. Rising said. "I like talking with people and showing them different treatments. It's nice to give them some relief."
As soon as Mrs. Hartley gets a job, she plans to call the chiropractor for an appointment.
"Joblessness brought me here, but that didn't pan out for me," the Aiken resident said. "I got a massage and free chiropractic assessment, though."
The purpose of the expo is to give local businesses and industries a chance to display their wares and establish contacts with other companies.
Hundreds of people mingled with exhibitors, flipping through brochures and watching demonstrations. Companies handed out everything from candy to computer monitor cleaners. No one left empty-handed.
Morgan Miller, an account representative with Alltel Communications, said the expo provided his company exposure in the community.
"We have a lot of competition here, but it's been a really positive day," he said.
Many of the exhibitors also took advantage of the opportunity to get to know their neighbors.
"Networking from vendor to vendor seems to be more worthwhile," said Rhett N. Sinclair, president of an estate, business and retirement planning company.
Events like the expo are extremely important to companies like Breath of Life, an environmental solutions business. The company's products aren't available in stores, so it relies on shows to sell clean-air goods.
"We sell things by word of mouth and by talking with people one on one," said Jo Whitson, who showed off high-quality air purifiers. "This has been a super show for us."
Reach Katie Throne at (803) 279-6895.