The 18th annual West Michigan Women’s Expo was held Friday, March 11 through Sunday, March 13 at the DeVos Place. It was a great turn out where many women enjoyed taking this time to pamper themselves. For many of the booths who set up shop every year, this is a great way of talking face to face to current clients and new customers. The expo brought over 400 activities, seminars and exhibits to Grand Rapids this year.
Publisher and Owner of Women’s Lifestyle Magazine Victoria Ann Upton, 60, of Grand Rapids described the expo as a positive event where businesses can interact with individuals while enjoying the experience. Upton has been involved with the West Michigan Women’s Expo for almost 18 years with promoter Denise Kohler. Both Upton’s and Kohler’s businesses started around the same time and they have created a partnership along the way. Upton is looking forward to the upcoming Women’s Expos with the expansion of technology, but embraces old fashioned face to face contact.
“I like the positive energy,” Upton said. “There are a lot of businesses that really engage with people and I think people have a lot of fun. You see a lot of smiles as you go around the expo.”
At the Women’s Lifestyle Magazine photo booth, guests were able to sit down and use props such as sunglasses, plastic cups, signs and flowered boas to create fun and memorable pictures.
Grand Raggidy Skater Jennifer Lynch, 39, of Grand Rapids was representing the Grand Raggidy Roller Derby at this year’s expo. This is the second year Grand Raggidy has been a part of the Women’s Expo.
“I love that it is for anybody,” Lynch said. “Body shape, style, if you haven’t played a sport before you can come out…It’s fully contact, so if you’re having a rough day (and) come to practice, you go home pretty happy.”
The Grand Raggidy Roller Derby was founded in 2005. There are approximately 45 women who are members of the league and those who are interested must be 18 or older.
The Women’s Expo has not only given opportunities for businesses but also for women all over West Michigan to come to the DeVos Place for a relaxing day of shopping and pampering. Jen Cole, 45, of Wyoming and Anne Wood, 23, of Grand Rapids have made the West Michigan Women’s Expo a mother-daughter tradition. They have attended the Women’s Expo for eight years so far and look forward to go each year.
“For me and my daughter we do this every year,” Cole said. “It’s just a nice getaway and it’s fun and we love pens.”
Wood said the expo is like a flea market and there are a combination of stores she wouldn’t have noticed if she did not attend the expo.
“My sister-in-law is gluten (intolerant) and we just found a bake shop that is right next door (my house) for when she comes to town,” Wood said. “It’s cool because I did not even know it was there.”