UConn-Stamford junior Dieter Tejada had just gotten out of class when he came upon a group of exhibitors on his school’s ground level, just outside the library. He’d been searching for a present for his mom, and the sparkling jewelry handsomely displayed at a front table caught his eye.

“I know she has a lot of blue stuff,” said Tejada, who tried to decide between a pair of short, blue crystal earrings and dangling, clear, drop earrings at the Filigree NYC display. He left, thought about it, and came back about 10 minutes later. He decided on the blue.

Such direct exposure and contact with new customers is why vendors participate in the annual February expo at UConn, said Filigree NYC owner Nickola Walker. More than two dozen business, community service and individuals were involved in the day-long Black History Month event. The morning expo kicked it off, and a ceremony with guest speakers followed.

“This is our eighth year. We bring in entrepreneurs” to network and explore opportunities, said event organizer Pamela Williams, who is regional campus store manager of the UConn-Stamford Co-op. Division Manager Dirk Fecho lauded Williams’ initiative in arranging the event, and echoed her sentiment that it serves as an opportunity to bring together community institutions, businesses and individuals.

Y. Anita Shipp, a former Stamford resident who grew up in the city, said she wouldn’t miss it.

“I always come to this,” said Shipp, who organizes bridal events and now lives in Bridgeport. “It’s exposure, a big networking thing. I see a lot of people I grew up with and do business with.”

Word of mouth is what brought Walker, a Westchester, NY, resident. “I’m excited,” she said about participating. “It’s for Black History Month, and I definitely want to support that in any way possible.”

Are you a small business owner? Do you find that expos are a helpful networking tool?