By Jordan Cohen
“This is definitely a girl’s day out,” said Shari Davies of Girard as she walked among the Women’s Expo displays Saturday with several friends at the Eastwood Expo Center. “It’s really nice to see all of these good products.”
The Women’s Expo, the first of its kind in the Mahoning Valley, was created by Justine Thomas, a former local radio personality who now heads a marketing and promotions company.
“I just asked myself, ‘What would you want to see if you’re a woman?’ and decided to put this together,” she said.
Her approach worked for Alana Sfikas of Warren.
“I just want to look and see what other women are doing,” she said as she pushed a buggy containing her 6-month-old daughter, Alana. “Everything sparkly gets my attention,” Sfikas said as the wide-eyed Alana smiled while her mother sampled cosmetic products.
Thomas said the event drew 90 vendors offering everything from jewelry, makeup and fashion to food and health. Rita West of Champion said the latter is what brought her to the event.
“I want to see what is health [-related] here because I have some health issues,” West said.
Dr. Brock Generalovich, a Boardman plastic and reconstructive surgeon, said he participated in the expo to promote women’s health. “I want to talk about breast-cancer awareness and let women know their options if they require [cancer- related] breast reconstructive surgery,” said Generalovich, who had set up a display and planned to give a speech on the subject.
Among the vendors were several women who make their own food products.
Elaine Mansfield, owner of Grandma Cupcakes Bakery, makes all her goods, including buckeyes, pumpkin rolls and specialty breads, at her Southington home, with the help of family members. A longtime food-service employee at Southington High School, she supplies open houses and weddings. Heidi Redmond of McDonald has been producing peanut-free almond butter spread at a facility near her home for the past eight years.
“My husband and I decided to do this because our son is allergic to peanuts,” she said as she handed out samples of the spread.
Thomas, whose dream led to Saturday’s expo, acknowledged she is taking a risk. “Some of these events haven’t worked in Cleveland and Columbus, but I’ve researched this, and I’m hoping we’ll attract at least 1,000 women who want to find out what all is going on,” she said.
“Then, after we see how the turnout goes, we’ll decide if we want to hold it again next year.”