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The History of East Meets West

The Annual East Meets West Regional Business Expo, a partnership between the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and Longboat Key Chamber Commerce, is the area’s premier business tradeshow event of the year. On September 15th, hundreds of attendees will line the aisles at Robarts Arena, as nearly 100 member exhibitor booths showcase their latest products and services. Over the years, East Meets West Expo has undergone a number of changes during its short history.

In 2009, the first East Meets West Expo set out to connect businesses and professionals from either side of our counties. In other words, connect East and West. Volunteers from both the Alliance and Longboat Key Chamber Events Committees spent months planning the first year event, hosted at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

“It was evident that businesses from both the “East” and “West” could benefit by joining forces and sharing their unique geographic issues,” said Annette Gueli, who at the time was the LWRBA’s Events Committee Chair. “By joining members from opposite counties, organizations could benefit financially and its members would be offered a networking opportunity for exposure as an exclusive member benefit.”

That first Expo hosted 45 exhibitors and attracted over 500 attendees. As the event continued to grow over the next few years, EMW moved around to various venues, including the former Polo Grill and the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, before moving to Robarts Arena, where the event has taken place since 2014. In years past, East Meets West Expo has even invited members from Greater Sarasota, Siesta Key, and Gulfcoast Latin Chambers of Commerce to participate in the expo.

Thanks in part to the growth of both organizations, and continued commitment of its dedicated volunteers, East Meets West Expo has flourished and grown year over year. This year’s promises to be the best yet. With nearly 100 exhibitor booths, fantastic tasting samples from the area’s finest restaurants, grand prizes, this is one event you just can’t miss.

The 2022 Annual East Meets West Regional Business Expo will take place on September 15th, 4:30-7:00 p.m. at Robarts Arena. We hope to see you there!


2022 East Meets West Expo
Thursday, September 15
4:30-7:00 p.m.
Robarts Arena
3000 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34237

Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance
8430 Enterprise Circle, Suite 140
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202

Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce
5390 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Suite 102
Longboat Key, FL 34228

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