PORT ST. LUCIE — More than 100 businesses from Melbourne to Boca Raton gathered to network at the fourth annual Treasure Coast Business Summit.
“It’s just a spectacular turnout,” said Pharus Group President Chris Morhardt, whose company organized the event. “We’ve grown 50 percent since last year. There were 82 exhibitors last year and there’s 120 this year.”
Businesses ranged from banks to independent representatives for Friday’s event at the Port St. Lucie Civic Center. Businesses paid $49.95 for a booth for one person, with additional costs for more people.
Those who attended had the opportunity to network or listen to presentations and speeches from public officials and business leaders about the state of the economy and how to improve business.
Participants were generally optimistic about the economy.
Local SUNDEK owner/manager Michael Widner said he attended the event to network and build clients. The Port St. Lucie-based franchise resurfaces patios and driveways, among other services, and serves the Treasure Coast.
“The first quarter of 2012 was my best quarter in three years,” Widner said. “I have a substantial backlog right now, and we’re doing very well. It’s been a great year so far.”
Participants were impressed by the improved turnout.
“It’s very nice to get out into the community,” Oculina Bank Marketing Representative Crystal Jordan said.
Speakers included St. Lucie County Property Appraiser Ken Pruitt, Port St. Lucie Mayor JoAnn Faiella, and TD Bank Regional President Kevin Gillen, among others.
Hobe Sound resident Amy Zwimer started working as a independent consultant for Scentsy as a way to make some extra cash. The company sells scented candles.
“I’m blown away because it’s affordable, but it’s such an array of businesses,” Zwimer said. “Everybody’s so friendly, and it’s great that there are still events like this that exist that are affordable for small businesses without paying a huge expense.”