You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.


If you go
What: Fort Wayne Women’s Expo
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today
Where: Memorial Coliseum
Admission: Adults $7, children 12 and younger free.
Photos by Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Karmen Hoefelmeyer checks out a whole-body vibration machine with help from Chief Johnson of Healthy Weight Loss Solutions.

Expo brings women in from the cold

Jami Howell of New Haven gets her nails painted by Masters of Cosmetology student Yara Harless during the Fort Wayne Women’s Expo at Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.

Like a lot of folks hereabouts, Hope Scribner of Fort Wayne has had enough of winter.

So, with her sister, Eva Wenners, niece Amanda Davis and Davis’ 9-month-old son, Kamdin Covey, Scribner decided that Saturday morning, sunny and a balmy 36 degrees, would be a good time to get out of the house.

The whole bunch packed up and set off for the Fort Wayne Women’s Expo at Memorial Coliseum, where 84 vendors of everything from hand-made soap and Girl Scout cookies to dental whitening and replacement windows awaited them.

“At least it gets us away from the husbands and all the kids in the house,” said Scribner, 33.

It had been “forever” since she’d had a girls’ day out, she said.

“I saw grass the other day and I was excited,” she added. “I was so excited I was actually seeing green grass.”

What excited her at the Expo was a table sponsored by Damsels in Distress, a company that sells personal safety and self-defense items.

She and several other women, including Shawnda Lawrence, 26, a mother of three children younger than 7, were gathered around the table.

Its wares included pink-handled jumper cables and a pink-packaged car emergency kit called Junk in the Trunk, a high-powered flashlight with a blinking handle and a spike-like plastic spiral key ring promising to increase the force of a punch.

Another item sold by the home-party company from Wapakoneta, Ohio, is Where’s Yo Baby, said Elizabeth Holsapple, company owner, who sees the business as a way to “educate and empower women.”

Where’s Yo Baby is a cute, stretchy plastic bracelet that will set off a beeping signal if a child wanders more than a preset distance between 3 and 21 feet.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Lawrence said. “Not that it replaces parenting skills, but kids can wander away.

“I like that a mom can know when they’ve gone too far.”

Nearby, Audrey Barry, 21, and her daughter Kaytlin, 3, had been drawn to the Lia Sophia jewelry booth. She decided she’d book a jewelry party at her home for some girly fun.

What caused her to stop?

“The sparkles. That’s what got me, definitely,” she said, her ears glittering from round ball earrings set with tiny clear crystals.

“I’m tired of being inside from all the snow.”

In its sixth year, the Expo is expected to attract about 4,000 people before it ends today, said Marianne Vitullo, owner of Pinnacle Events & Expos, a company from Akron, Ohio, that organized the show.