The booming Interstate 75 business corridor between Cincinnati and Dayton has many engines driving its growth and one of the biggest showed off Tuesday at the West Chester and Liberty Twp.’s Regional Business Expo.
The popular annual event, which is conducted by the West Chester/Liberty Chamber Alliance at Lakota West High School, had a record number of exhibitors and one of its largest crowds in decades, said chamber officials.
It’s the latest reflection of the connectiveness of the growing businesses, medical services, offices, retail and residential expansions along the stretch of Interstate 75 from northern Cincinnati’s Butler County up to the southern communities of Greater Dayton, said Joe Hinson, president and CEO of the Chamber Alliance.
“There’s a lot of energy here,” said Hinson of the expo turnout, citing the event’s expanded advertising on social media and on billboards along the interstate.
“We have more exhibitors — close to 100 — and more food trucks, and we were anticipating more attendees than last year,” he said gazing over the roomy, four-story main entrance hall for one of Ohio’s largest high schools that has hosted the expo in recent years.
“Where we sit between Cincinnati and Dayton, the opportunity is just tremendous. The I-75 growth corridor is the connector between the two major markets. And we are seeing more development as we go north to the Austin Boulevard (I-75) interchange.”
The recent federal approval of the Millikin Road interchange along I-75 in Liberty Twp. is the latest jump in the expanding, two-city market, which is moving toward eventually becoming one Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in southwest Ohio, said Hinson.
And when that MSA residential population density is achieved, he said, it will be the 19th largest MSA in the nation.
Tom Holding, an area financial advisor and expo exhibitor, has come to the expo for two decades.
The Regional Business Expo included retailers, service providers, health related industries, financial institutions, restaurants, hotels, educational institutions, nonprofits and a variety of other businesses and organizations, as well as health screenings and food trucks.
Canceled in the summer of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Holding said the popularity of the event has returned and grown in large part because of its regional appeal.
“Dayton and Cincinnati and growing together and where they meet is right here,” he said referring to the two largest and fastest-growing townships in the I-75 corridor.
“We have a great business environment all the way up to Dayton.”
West Chester Twp. Trustee Mark Welch is also a business owner in the community but the expo saw him walking around and enjoying the wide variety of exhibitors as a steady crowd flowed through the event.
“It’s encouraging. And it encourages people to come out and do commerce and find out something new. The Cincinnati and Dayton metroplex is definitely growing together and West Chester and Liberty Twp. are right smack in the middle of it,” said Welch.