The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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October 7, 2012

‘I love to see the things people have made’

Annual Women’s Expo customers, vendors enjoy day

HERMITAGE — Local vendors featuring everything from cupcakes to healthcare and travel to remodeling had an opportunity to showcase their wares at the annual Women’s Expo 2012 held at the Shenango Valley Mall in Hermitage.

More than 1,000 customers made their way up and down the mall’s concourse, sampling food and filling gift bags with coupons, yardsticks, pens and other goodies while signing up for several drawings.

Sponsored by The Herald’s Views & Voices, the gathering is an annual opportunity for people to see all that is available locally, said Lauren Mylo, editor of the women’s magazine.

“It’s a great way for people to learn what we have in the community and a great way for vendors to network,” she said. “In that way, it’s an extension of the magazine, because the goal is to let people know what we have here.”

The magazine partnered with the Community Food Warehouse of the Shenango Valley and collected non-perishable items to assist in food drives.

“That’s gone very well,” Mylo said. “A lot of people remembered that and brought canned goods with them.”

Carol Reichard, a Hermitage resident, came in and dropped off her canned goods before making her way around the tables. “I think this is a really worthy cause. And I always come out to this. I love to see the things people have made.”

A Sharpsville woman also said she was happy for the chance to find new places to shop.

“I found some wonderful jewelry pieces from a woman opening a place in Greenville. l like it that they don’t push anything on you,” said Marian Doddato.

Planning a return for next year, Kristina Annandono, a representative selling Thirty-One gifts said she didn’t know what to expect for her first time at the expo.

“It’s a lot busier than I thought, but I’m getting the name out there and that’s what I wanted,” she said.

Specialty items that aren’t found in larger stores are what attracted some shoppers.

Mary Reimond, whose booth featured unique children’s clothing, said she got into the business because of a story.

“Everything has a story to it and I like things with stories,” she said. The products she sells are from a line of clothing called “Bunnies By the Bay” based out of Washington state.

“The woman who started it did it because of an accident. She lost her husband in a fishing accident and was left with nothing. She knew how to sew and make things, so she started sewing. It grew into a family business and every piece has the signature ‘glad dreams’ on the tag. You know why? Because she lived a nightmare,” Reimold said.

The product line is available at Reimold’s store on Main Street in Greenville.

“We’re the one with the hot pink door,” she said.

One of the most popular tables, coincidentally located behind a weight-loss display, was that of Bartell’s Cupcakery, selling Halloween-themed cupcakes. The business started when Joshua Bartell grew tired of working 70-plus hours a week as a car salesman, said his wife, Leah.

“He came home one day and said we were going to start a cupcake business,” she said. The couple started out the day with eight dozen cupcakes, but by noon were running low. “They’ve been incredibly popular,” she said.

John and Sally Dancu of Hermitage were filling gift bags with goodies to take to their grandchildren.

“I like to come to this. I enjoy all the people I see. And I got a couple things here for the grandkids,” he said.

In honor of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, Tracy Fazekas was selling pink tee-shirts to promote cancer awareness. Other cancer survivors milled around her table outside Something’s Brewin’, promoting a raffle for the 5th annual Sip for a Cure benefit.

Donna Darcangelo, who attended the expo as part of a fundraising effort for the American Cancer Society, said it was less about raising money than it was about raising awareness.

“I just want people to know someone is there and that they can reach out for us,” she said.

The event that featured 65 booths was put together by Tammy Zieminick and Erica Sechler, advertising consultants for Views and Voices.

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