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The Yankee Express

Team effort results in crowd-pleasing Chamber Expo

Above, Marcus Seedhom, postmaster in Linwood, asked for and received a Koopman Lumber bucket, a popular item at the Expo. Left, Harry Berkowitz and Russ Youmans were present on behalf of WCRN 830 AM at the Expo. The Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce has a close working relationship with the radio station.


As members of the nine-person committee in charge of the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Home & Community Expo, Chris Whitten of Premeer Real Estate and Ashling Rowen of Infinity Events were pleased with this year’s event, held on March 25th at Northbridge High School.


Chamber President and CEO Jeannie Hebert, staffers Liz O’Neil and Kristen Kearnan, Heather Elster of the Whitin Community Center, Wendy Brown of UniBank, Ashley Daviau and Tony Romniou were also on the organizing committee for the Expo.

 Members of a younger generated helped represent Harbro Auto Sales at the Expo: Present were James Donnelly, Abby Donnelly, Emmet Hare, Ken Donnelly and Jonah Hare.

“I love it,” Mr. Whitten said, of the 23rd version of the Expo. “I had clam chowder for lunch!”
Premeer was both one of the sponsors of Expo, and a participating exhibitor.
The Expo returned in 2022 for the first time since the pandemic, and was welcomed again this spring by a long line of people waiting to get in at 10 o’clock, as Mary Whittier’s daughter Samantha (Whittier) Staebner from Whittier Farms handed out packets of cheese.
“Every year people ask ‘is this going to be the last one’ because everything is going virtual,” Mr. Whitten said. “For me, it’s a chance for people in the Blackstone Valley to get together.” In fact, that explains a name change, he said, noting the replacement of the word “Business” with the word “Community.”
Premeer Real Estate is based in Smithfield, Rhode Island, but Mr. Whitten’s roots are in Uxbridge. A Uxbridge High grad, Class of 1995, and the father of five children, he is active in town cleanups, fireworks and the Uniquely Uxbridge Day. His parents and several siblings still live in Uxbridge. As a businessperson, he is proud of Premeer’s giveback program; “$150 of every closing is turned over to charity,” he said.
As a planner of memorable events for her own clients, Ms. Rowen also appreciated having a role in the Expo.
“I was asked to assist with the logistical details for the Expo and worked with Liz O’Neil,” Ms. Rowen said. “I felt that the day went flawlessly.”
She developed an interest in coordinating “remarkable events” from the age of seven and used the Hospitality program at Endicott College as a springboard into an internship planning high-end events in Ireland and Europe and then a career in hotels and nonprofits before starting her own company.
Ms. Rowen noted that every feature of the Expo was planned to assure the satisfaction for both the exhibitors and the attendees, “from the exhibitor lounge for them to have a quiet place to go and get a coffee or a snack to the check-in process, everything was fantastic.”
Each element of the Expo from Easter Bunny photos to a mascot dance contest to a performance by Murphy’s Irish Step Dancers ran on time and people “enjoyed the entertainment,” she said. “While walking around and checking on exhibitors and vendors,” she saw that those in attendance “seemed to really enjoy their conversations at each booth and each exhibit was very engaged with the guests.”
Ms. Rowen said the chowder competition was “a great hit.”
Overall, Ms. Rowen said, Chamber staff “was on top of every detail. Nothing was overlooked. This was definitely a huge team effort.”

Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.