NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — The New Bern Chamber of Commerce hosted more than 100 local businesses and nearly 15,000 visitors Thursday at the New Bern Business Expo, the chamber’s largest event of the year.
The expo brought the attention back to business in New Bern.
“I sense a certain amount of optimism in people right now and for good or for bad I just think people are out and about and wanting to do more for some reason,” said David Engelhard, the owner of Kona Ice, Crystal Coast.
Engelhard has owned his business for nearly seven years, and he said there’s no denying an economic boom.
“The uptick for us is being about to get out there and do what we love to do and not just be doing the status quo,” said Engelhard.
The expo has nearly doubled in size in just a year.
New Bern Chamber of Commerce president Kevin Roberts said those numbers reflect a bigger picture
“In years past, we’ve seen January or February be a little weak, but it’s been strong this year.”
For Roberts, it’s as simple as good team work, with people coming together build up New Bern “as a place to visit, and place to do business, a place to relocate.”
“We’re seeing those come together very nicely,” Roberts said.
More business means more opportunity.
“The more we make, the more we can give back to our community,” said Engelhard. “In the time we’ve been in business, we’ve given back over $135,00 to non-profits in the area. So the more we do, the more we can do with them.”
Event organizers said they were running out of room for vendors this year and are considering options to allow for expansion next year.