LEWISTON – Organizers of the Androscoggin Business to Business Trade Show are acutely aware of the sluggish economy and a challenging business environment, which is why they are so bullish about this year’s show, said one. Their philosophy: This is a time for organizations to position themselves for a post-recession afterlife.

“Like most people, we’re tired of gloom and doom,” said Paul Badeau, marketing director for the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council and coordinator of the show. “Instead, we’re encouraging people to look at this period as a time to retrench and reassess. Organizations need to convey that business must and will go on, networking is still essential, marketing is more important than ever, and people must invest in the future – personally and professionally – to succeed.”

This year’s show will be held Thursday, June 11, at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. The event is Maine’s largest one-day business show, attracting 2,500 attendees and nearly 200 exhibitors. The show is organized by the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council, in cooperation with the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s theme is “Recharging Your Business” and will focus on positioning businesses for future growth, innovation and success. To play off the “recharging” theme, the Shipyard Lounge at the Colisee will be converted to a self-rejuvenation area offering massages, aromatherapy, refreshments, and a way to unwind by playing some of the latest Wii entertainment games.

Among show highlights will be a contest to try to win a 2010 Toyota Prius – a hybrid car that literally recharges – courtesy of Emerson Toyota. A winner will get the keys if he or she qualifies and correctly guesses the number of items in the trunk.

In addition, show organizers will compile a “best business practices” Web site and Sun Journal insert sharing information about business resources and models for managing a business or organization during difficult times.

Now in its 14th year, the event also consists of a special Business to Business chamber breakfast to be held at the new Bates College Commons. A Business After Hours at the Colisee closes out the day with door prizes and refreshments.

“In this economy, exchanging ideas, collaborating, and branding are critically important,” said Badeau. “The danger during tough times is that companies hunker down and isolate themselves, thinking this is a bad time to try anything new. It could be quite the opposite. Adversity often provides opportunity.”

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Companies interested in sponsorship should contact Badeau at the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council, 777-5031, or e-mail [email protected]

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