West Sound Expo highlights local businesses

Owner Ole Schow relaxes in a spa at the West Sound Expo Thursday at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.  - Leslie Kelly
Owner Ole Schow relaxes in a spa at the West Sound Expo Thursday at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.
— image credit: Leslie Kelly

There's not many places where you can go to test your skills at a hole in one golf shot, get some free barbecue and see the boss sitting in a hot tub.

But those were just a few of the options for those who attended the West Sound Business Expo at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds on Thursday.

The annual Expo, designed to introduce businesses to businesses, had more than 150 vendors. It was free and open to the public and had entertainment, including face painting, for the kids.

Among the vendors was Ole's Pool and Spa. Owner Ole Schow relaxed, fully-dressed in an empty BullFrog brand spa on display at the show.

"We're having some fun," he said. "It's been a great show. It's a great place to go to meet people and get your name out there."

Schow has two locations, one in Port Orchard that's been open since 2004, and one in Bremerton, which just opened about three months ago. He's been in the spa business for 31 years.

"The spa business is good these days," he said. "And this show is a good way to meet other business owners."

At another booth, Jeannie Sweeney was answering questions about The Logo Loft. The business can pretty much put your business's name on just about anything, she said. So what's the most popular products?

"People want to know about getting their businesses and employees' names on name tags," she said. "And they all like out little calculator that folds up."

The company had several give-aways including pens and letter openers. Among their other offerings were promotional items, printing, apparel and awards products.

With a country-western theme this year, many business owners were decked out in cowboy hats and boots. Some had on western wear and a few even donned sheriff's badges.

The owners of the Sugar and Spice Tearoom and gift shop in Poulsbo were giving out miniature scones and samples of their teas.

Famous Dave's in Silverdale offered samples of their barbecue and even their mascot, the Famous Dave pig was on hand to greet the crowd. He, and the

Liberty Tax Statue of Liberty, and the Geico Gecko were popular with the kids who wanted to be photographed with all of them.

But 7-year-old Ethan Malcom, was too busy for that. Decked out in his cowboy hat, Ethan was busy at his mom's booth, helping out. His mother, Catie

Malcom, is the owner of Catie's Creations.

"I'm sort of helping out," he said. "But I'm sort of just playing, too."

The Expo is an annual event and included retailers, professional services, media, hotels and resorts and nonprofits.


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