West Michigan Women's Expo
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids MI Women's Expo - DeVos Place - Press Release
For Immediate Release
West Michigan Women’s Expo Returns to
West Michigan for its 19th Year
Event celebrating personal style, wellness and inspiration runs March 10-12
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2/16/2017 – The West Michigan Women’s Expo returns to Grand Rapids for its 19th year in March, giving women an opportunity to bring together their best girls for a weekend that will inspire their personal style and spark passion for their lifestyle.
The 2017 Expo is slated for March 10 to 12 at the DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids. This year’s lineup features products, services and seminars that aim to provide a weekend of enjoyment and education for women of all ages. Whatever interests you have, women will find that spark to make “YOU” sparkle.
This year, Pam Glass has transitioned into a leadership role as the new owner of Kohler Expos, which produces the show. Glass has been with the organization for 17 years and is excited to inspire generations of women through the show. In her new leadership role, Glass is taking a deeper look at what motivates and sparks the West Michigan woman.
“After being with Kohler Expos for 17 years, I am excited to step into this new position and build on the strong foundation we have established,” said Glass, president and CEO. “The Expo is a multi-generational weekend destination for women throughout West Michigan. There is something for every woman, from shopping to health and fitness to fashion and home décor – we’ve really got it all.”
The three-day Expo is the largest single consumer event for women in West Michigan and will feature more than 400 women-owned and women-focused businesses – all accessible under one roof.
“From shopping to vacations to financial planning to other services, this year’s show really does promise to have everything the West Michigan woman wants,” Glass said. “The very best from around our state will be on hand, providing demonstrations and live experiences.
“Women will be inspired by the keynote speakers, learn new recipes and cooking techniques and participate in an interactive painting workshop. Local and regional experts will offer engaging and entertaining presentations and demonstrations on a variety of subjects, including a self-esteem workshop, facial rejuvenation, fitness, healthy eating, on-site hair styling and more.”
Soaring Eagle Resort and Casino is returning this year as a title sponsor of the three-day event. Soaring Eagle will host a large feature area with casino-themed fun along with giveaways.
Lake Michigan Credit Union again will be giving away a Caribbean vacation, valued at $2,000. You can sign up throughout the weekend at the Expo.
Another highlight of this year’s Expo is the presence of locally owned independent business owners.
“Today's market grows more and more competitive, with many new companies emerging daily,” Glass said. “This year's show will feature many different direct sale businesses such as LuLaRoe, Younique, Plexus and Wildtree. This gives women the opportunity to buy a trusted product while still supporting locally owned, female-run independent businesses.”
As in past years, there will be a live Cooking Stage, featuring demonstrations throughout the weekend. This year, show attendees will experience a live cooking demonstration with Chef Len of American Char. Chef Len has worked at five-star resorts and Fortune 500 companies around the world and graduated from the world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School. He now owns and manages American Char, a west-Michigan restaurant destination that focuses on Texas-style BBQ with a southern twist.
The Main Stage will feature speakers and presentations aimed at inspiring women to be the best possible woman they can be. Karen Palka from A Beautiful Me will discuss how to embrace every woman’s beauty at any age through a self-esteem workshop. Based in Southeast Michigan, the organization aims to empower women through positive self-image and confidence to invoke positive impacts on their schools and communities.
The Expo will also feature a fashion show, presented by Hawthorne Collection, a women’s boutique offering clothing, shoes, accessories, and more. Hawthorne aims to bring on-trend, stylish outfits to women of all ages. The fashion show will highlight the season’s hottest trends and affordable fashions. Other highlights on the Main Stage includes hands-on painting demonstrations, Zumba and skin care workshops.
The Great Lakes Writers Expo will return featuring more than 24 independent authors that will be on hand to promote literacy. Authors will also discuss their books, different methods of writing and sign their literary work.
The Expo is also providing the opportunity to give back to the West Michigan community through Hand2Hand, a nonprofit founded in West Michigan that supports at-risk children and families. The Expo entrance will be a collection site for non-perishable food and snacks, which will go home with elementary school children who are at risk of going hungry on the weekend. Hand2Hand serves more than 4,000 students each weekend in 105 schools in 27 districts. Accepted donations include chicken noodle soup, canned chicken, granola bars, fruit snacks, cracker packs or individual pudding or fruit cups. For more information about Hand2Hand, please visit www.hand2handbackpack.org.
The Expo is slated to run 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, March 10, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 12. Admission at the door is $10 for adults and $8 for children ages 6 to 14. For more information, visit www.kohlerexpo.com.
About West Michigan Women’s Expo
West Michigan Women’s Expo offers a balance of wellness, education and entertainment in an event designed to inspire the busy West Michigan woman. The Expo gathers the very best Michigan has to offer to showcase women-focused products, services and business opportunities. Top experts in their fields are available throughout the weekend to provide resources ranging from wellness and health to finances, business and networking opportunities as well as beauty, fashion and food.. For the most updated information, check out the Facebook page or visit www.kohlerexpo.com.
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From One Family to the Next: Kohler Expos Changes Ownership
Longtime Employee Purchases Successful Consumer Exhibition Company
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1/3/2017 – Kohler Expos begins 2017 with new ownership as founder and CEO Denise Kohler-Kolesar sells the successful exhibition company to longtime employee Pam Glass.
Known for its signature Women’s Expos in Grand Rapids and Lansing, Kohler Expos annually produces six quality consumer shows focused on women and families that draw tens of thousands of attendees. Glass, who joined the Kohler team the year after the company was founded, steps into the role as president and CEO.
Glass is joined by her family, who have taken key roles in the day-to-day operations of Kohler Expos. Her husband, Randy, brings more than 30 years of sales and customer service expertise to his new role as sales and marketing director for Kohler Expos. He will be responsible for all booth sales, relationship management with exhibitors and day-of show operations.
They are joined by their daughter, Kaylee, as operations director and show manager. Prior to joining Kohler Expos, she worked as catering and event manager for Baker Lofts, which is part of the Gilmore Collection. She worked with her mother since she was 12 during show season for Kohler Expos and has successfully produced several events in the West Michigan area.
Terms of the sale, which was completed in the fall of 2016, were not disclosed.
“When the opportunity to step into an ownership role first came up, we looked at this as a family and decided to jump in all together,” Glass said. “I have loved doing the shows from the first moment I joined Denise. They allowed me to be creative yet use my organizational skills, and I truly can’t see myself doing anything else.
“This process has evolved gradually over the last two years. I so appreciate the trust Denise has placed in me to serve as the next leader of Kohler Expos. She has been a great friend and mentor to me during our nearly two decades of working together.
“We share similar values and both place a premium on integrity, which is so important when you are selling a business with your family’s name on it. My family and I will honor that as we look forward to an exciting second chapter with Kohler Expos.”
Glass expects a smooth transition as her team, which includes several part-time and seasonal workers as well, moves into show season.
Kohler-Kolesar launched Kohler Expos in 1998 with a single show – the West Michigan Women’s Expo. She brought more than 10 years of show experience to her new company, which enjoyed a success with that first woman-focused show.
Two years later, she replicated that magic in Lansing with the launch of the Mid-Michigan Women’s Expo. Along the way, Kohler-Kolesar and her team began producing stand-alone bridal shows, including the popular January show at the DeVos Place. In 2015, Kohler Expos produced the first Kids & Family Expo in Grand Rapids, which was also an immediate success.
Kohler-Kolesar also involved her whole family in show operations. Her husband, Brian, served as sales and marketing director for 17 years while her three sons also grew up helping out during show season.
“I am very proud of the growth we have achieved over the last two decades,” Kohler-Kolesar said. “People know that when they come to a Kohler event, it will be well thought out and well run. Pam’s 18 years of experience will enable her to step smoothly into this new role and, in turn, inject her own ideas and personality to ensure the continued success of Kohler Expos.
“Selling the business was a tough decision, but the timing was right and I knew I was leaving it in excellent hands.”
Kohler-Kolesar is exploring different consulting and business options as she looks to begin her second chapter. She is an active volunteer in the community and will step into the role of chair of the Kent County Parks Foundation Board for the 2017-2018 term. She also chairs the Steering Committee for the Established Business Women’s Division of Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, or GROW, and has become involved on several committees for the local Women’s City Club housed downtown Grand Rapids.