Better Business Bureau booth

While the rest of the country is facing a significant downturn, local businesses had plenty of reasons to get together and celebrate the strength of the Southeast Texas economy.

With the theme "Hit the Jackpot and Be a Part of Our Billion Dollar Boom," the Southeast Texas Business Expo was big success on Jan. 22 at the Beaumont Civic Center.

Sponsored by the Greater Beaumont and Greater Port Arthur Chambers of Commerce, more than 130 area businesses and vendors showcased their goods and services. Vendors included international corporations with a local presence like Motiva Enterprises and Total Petrochemicals, locally owned businesses like KT Maintenance and Manning's Office Supply and healthcare providers like Christus and Memorial Hermann Baptist.

The "Jackpot" theme, complete with Vegas casino-style decorations and Elvis impersonators, recognizes the building boom in the local petrochemical industry, where more than a billion dollars for several plant expansions is stimulating the area economy.

The event, which has been a combined effort by the Beaumont and Port Arthur chambers since 2003, was originally scheduled for September. Hurricanes threatening the coast forced organizers to move expo to January.

New to the expo this year was a Veteran's Outreach Summit to assist vets with benefits and employment opportunities.

The 2009 Southeast Texas Business Expo was sponsored in part by: Becon Construction Co., Clear Channel Radio, Cumulus Media Inc., KBTV-Channel 4, Gulf Credit Union, YPONE / Golden Triangle Telephone Directory Inc., Allen Samuels Chrysler Dodge Jeep, Neches Federal Credit Union, Raymond James Financial Services Inc.,Ron Legnion, BGI, and Motiva.

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