- people on the move
Owner sells expositions company
The founder of a local expositions company has sold the business to a long-time employee.
Denise Kohler-Kolesar, founder of Grandville-based Kohler Expos, said today she sold the company to Pam Glass, who has worked at Kohler Expos in various capacities since 1999.
The sale was final on Sept. 16. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Kohler Expos — which was founded in 1998 with a single show, the West Michigan Women’s Expo — has specialized in women-focused events since its inception, and it now produces six annual consumer shows in Grand Rapids and Lansing that draw tens of thousands of attendees.
The shows include the Winter Bridal Show, Kids & Family Expo, Mid-Michigan Women’s Expo, West Michigan Women’s Expo, Spring Bridal Show and Fall Bridal Show.
Glass family takes reins
As the company’s new owner, president and CEO, Glass said she plans to keep the existing events going and will eventually expand into other avenues as well.
She said the company will retain the name Kohler Expos and its three full-time employees and several seasonal employees.
Glass is joined by two family members who have taken key roles at Kohler Expos.
Her husband, Randy Glass, brings more than 30 years of sales and customer service expertise to his new role as sales and marketing director. He will be responsible for all booth sales, relationship management with exhibitors and day-of show operations.
Their daughter, Kaylee Glass, will work as operations director and show manager. Before joining Kohler Expos, she worked as catering and event manager for Baker Lofts, which is part of The Gilmore Collection. She has also worked with her mother since she was 12 during Kohler Expos’ show season and successfully produced several events in West Michigan.
“When the opportunity to step into an ownership role first came up, we looked at this as a family and decided to jump in all together,” Pam Glass said. “I have loved doing the shows from the first moment I joined Denise. They allowed me to be creative, yet use my organizational skills, and I truly can’t see myself doing anything else.
“This process has evolved gradually over the last two years. I so appreciate the trust Denise has placed in me to serve as the next leader of Kohler Expos. She has been a great friend and mentor to me during our nearly two decades of working together.”
Kohler-Kolesar also involved her whole family in show operations. Her husband, Brian Kolesar, served as sales and marketing director for 17 years, while her three sons grew up helping out during show season.
“I am very proud of the growth we have achieved over the last two decades,” Kohler-Kolesar said. “People know that when they come to a Kohler event, it will be well-thought-out and well-run. Pam’s 18 years of experience will enable her to step smoothly into this new role and, in turn, inject her own ideas and personality to ensure the continued success of Kohler Expos.
“Selling the business was a tough decision, but the timing was right, and I knew I was leaving it in excellent hands.”
Kohler-Kolesar is also active part of the community: she’s the new chair of the Kent County Parks Foundation Board for the 2017-18 term; she serves as chair of the steering committee for the Established Business Women’s Division of Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, or GROW; and she’s on several committees for the Women’s City Club in downtown Grand Rapids.
She said she's started a new corporation, 4060 Group, and is making plans for its future.
“I’ve been getting re-organized and getting situated, and in 2017, I’ll look and see where I want to take it,” she said.