When the OCHMRA was quite young, one of its members, Paul Wall of Phillips Seafood Restaurants, suggested organizing a trade show. He was on the board of the Baltimore Restaurant Association, which was later to become the Restaurant Association of Maryland with Paul Wall serving as president for two terms. The Baltimore Restaurant Association operated a successful trade show and the executive secretary, Tish Carter, who happened to be a friend of Paul Wall, agreed to help start the show in Ocean City.
In the early 70's, nobody in Ocean City wanted to travel all the way to Baltimore for a trade show, so it made sense to get one going in Ocean City. It would be a great source of revenue for the OCHMRA and, the board reasoned, it would help grow business in the convention center as well as throughout the town.
Tish Carter and her husband, Jack, came to Ocean City armed with a wealth of information on how to build a trade show. They jumped right in with a very enthusiastic board and went to work. "The OCHMRA Trade Show would not have happened without Tish," said Paul Wall, who also credited Shirley and Brice Phillips for allowing him to use his office in the winter months to work on the show. Many in Ocean City say it would not have happened without Paul Wall.
In any case, a lot of dedication and hard work went into the OCHMRA Trade show, and in talking with some of the original committee, it is evident that each and every member was very important and they all give each other equal credit. They were hoteliers, restaurateurs and the director of the Convention Center along with a member of his staff. Paul Wall was the chairman and the committee was George Brous, David Bryant, Kate Bunting, Thelma Conner, Bill Conner, Amanda Cropper, Sue Cropper, Shirley Hazard, Cashar Hickman, Eleanor Kelly, Irvin Wolf, Gary Fischer and Marty Batchelor-Trimper.
The Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association Spring Trade Expo has become a major resource for the latest in goods and services for the hospitality industry.