The leading Greek-American business expo, Hermes Expo, took place in person on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, at the lovely Grand Marquis in Old Bridge, NJ. The unique networking platform welcomed over 600 visitors from across the five-state area after going virtual last year due to COVID-19. In its 30th year, the Hermes Expo exceeded all expectations in terms of the various professional services and businesses exhibiting and networking opportunities available. In the evening, the Hermes Expo hosted its annual Awards Dinner and Ceremony, where nine distinguished professionals and philanthropists were honored for their contributions to their professional environment and philanthropic endeavors.
“Trade, communications, and culture, that is our theme. This is what we have been doing all these years. Connecting all these exhibitors from Greece and the United States in the big American marketplace and Greece. I want to thank Aphrodite and the team because we are a team. It is not only me. But, especially Aphrodite for organizing the Hermes Expo the way it is supposed to be. I know that we have a lot of changes to make in the future, to accommodate all of our sponsors and all of our exhibitors so this way they can be more effective in the work that they are doing. Of course, our mindset is to help everybody, connect everybody, and keep the door open until the deal is done. And this is what we have done for 30 years and we would like to continue with the younger generation for another 30 years I hope,” expressed Paul Kotrotsios, Founder and President of the Hermes Expo.
At the grand opening ceremony, several prominent officials from the state of New Jersey were in attendance to welcome all the sponsors, exhibitors, visitors, and honored guests of the 30th Hermes Expo to Central New Jersey after a 29 year run in Atlantic City, Philadelphia, and New York City. Paul Kotrotsios introduced James Polos, Executive Director of the Middlesex County Improvement Authority, who then took the floor to welcome everyone to the Hermes Expo, “In order for an event like this to be a success, there has to be an initial idea, passion in order to implement that idea. These types of events, particularly one that has a legacy of 30 years, are not very easy to put together and sometimes it takes the vision and stamina of an individual to get it down the road. Join me in congratulating, once again the founder, the visionary if you will for this event, the 30-year history of it, Paul Kotrotsios.”
Then, he went on to introduce all the distinguished guests with the first being His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medeia of the Metropolis of New Jersey. His Grace shared, “May the grace of God and the Holy Spirit be upon you blessing your steps on this wonderful project and work and keep you in good health for many years to always provide to the faithful people and to all the people that would like to participate in this particular initiative with all the happiness and good health.”
Next, Craig Coughlin, Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly shared, “Thank you all for being here, thank you for bringing the event to New Jersey, particularly Central New Jersey. I am proud to be here with Mayor Owen Henry and thank you for the great work you are doing. Congratulations to all of the honorees and to all of the sponsors.
Following the Speaker Coughlin, Polos introduced Senator Sam Thompson (R-NJ), who shared, “Thank you for bringing this event to the state of NJ, to Old Bridge, NJ, my home. The Hellenic community has contributed so much to America and we have great appreciation. Thank you all for coming.“
Polos went on to say, “We are being hosted today in a wonderful community… Old Bridge is an engine that is the driving force of economic development within our county. It takes great leadership to be able to do that and I am pleased to introduce to you the Mayor of Old Bridge, Mayor Owen Henry.
“To build upon what the people before spoke on, Paul Thank you. I have to thank your family for being here today to support you and help you. The team that you have behind you is inspiring for all of us to develop that push that we all need. As the speaker said welcome to New Jersey but as the Mayor, I have to say welcome to Old Bridge, New Jersey… We have a great group of people and businesses… Let’s develop those personal relationships that come from events like this and we can all be prosperous, and that helps us help other people. Thank you for being here today, you couldn’t have picked a better spot,” expressed Mayor Henry.
Following Mayor Henry, Dimitrios Kontolios, Councilman from Ridgefield, NJ, spoke. “Distinguished members of the clergy, fellow elected officials, honored guest, Chief of Staff Boone, thank you for coming from Governor Murphy’s office, it is an honor to address the Hermes Expo. We have always heard of the Hermes expo but for me, standing here at the opening ceremony is an honor and privilege. Congratulations to the Kotrotsios family for all that they do. Hermes was the Greek messenger god and the message this year is we are all back after the pandemic.”
Lastly, Ana Oliveira, SVP, Retail NY Market Executive at Investors Bank and longtime sponsor of the Hermes Expo welcomed everyone to the 30th Hermes Expo. “Investors Bank started out in New York about 10 years ago, and Paul was one of the first people we met. Even though we have been around since the 1920s in New Jersey, we had just started our expansion into New York. Paul and his team were so much help introducing us to people, local officials, business owners, and community organizations. There is something to say about continuing to support the people that support you. And events like this really connect people in the community with each other, especially coming off of the year and a half we just had, I’m zoomed out so to be in a room filled with local friends, leaders, and non for profits, it really makes an impact, thank you, Paul, for everything and thank you all for letting us be part of this expo.”
After the wonderful introductions, everyone gathered in the main ballroom to explore the exhibition with a myriad of booths on display. Several different types of businesses and professional services were exhibited from the following backgrounds: foodservice, banking, travel, and tourism; beverage service, Greek Wine, payment systems, insurance, legal, PPE suppliers, fine goods, lifestyle brands, photography and so much more. To see what exhibitors had to say click here to read more.
Stay tuned for the 31st Hermes Expo set to take place in Fall 2021 in its new home in Old Bridge, NJ, the Grand Marquis. To exhibit at this unique networking platform, contact Paul Kotrotsios at [email protected].