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Oakland Expo Center Opens North of Pontiac

Expansive venue can accommodate trade shows, large events

By Kathy Gibbons

The Oakland Expo Center threw a party to introduce meeting planners to its new facility in Waterford. || Photo by OMA Comp

A new convention and conference facility has debuted in Oakland County. David Grossman, who has owned Southfield-based Pegasus Entertainment Inc. for 40-plus years, launched the new Oakland Expo Center in November. He says it fills a void when it comes to having enough large meeting venues in the region.

“I have a long history of being in the entertainment business with bars, nightclubs, theaters,” Grossman says. “I just saw a need. Detroit right now is a big city and we have two convention centers [Huntington Place in downtown Detroit and Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi].”

Oakland Expo Center is located north of M-59 off Telegraph Road near the Oakland County Executive Offices, north of Pontiac. With 80,000 square feet, it features a wide-open design, high ceilings, LED lighting, and easy entrance for RVs, cars, and boats with large-bay access. About 38,000 square feet is available in an enclosed outdoor area where new bathrooms are being built to serve both indoor and outdoor spaces.

“It’s basically a blank canvas,” Grossman says. “You can do anything in there. The size is big enough for all but the biggest shows. The biggest shows are going to Huntington Place. The next level is Suburban Collection. After that it’ll be us. There are a few other spaces in town but they’re either government owned or not as available.”

An event for meeting planners demonstrated various options for event planners, ranging from corporate parties to auto shows. || Photo by OMA Comp

Oakland Expo Center is also being serviced by Pegasus, which is handling all in-house audiovisual services and decorating. With a 16,000 square foot warehouse in Southfield, another 8,000 square feet in Waterford, and about 5,000 square feet of storage in Detroit, Pegasus event services include sound, lighting and technical support, draping, staging, dance floors, tables, tablecloths, place settings, chairs, and more. Pegasus has worked with planners across the United States to provide support for car shows and other high-profile events, including a U.S. presidential inauguration.

“We have so much equipment in-house, and a lot of these facilities don’t have that,” Grossman says. “Our big difference is there’s no huge markup. … For us, the prices are the same as people pay all day long at Pegasus. There’s no markup.”

Grossman has also contracted with Zack Sklar-led Cutting Edge Cuisine for culinary services at Oakland Expo Center. Sklar is also a partner in Peas & Carrots Hospitality, operating Social Kitchen & Bar in Birmingham, MEX and Beau’s Grillery in Bloomfield Hills, Como’s in Ferndale, and The Common Grill in Chelsea.

Oakland Expo Center recently held an industry opening for event planners. Grossman says events including a variety of trade shows are being scheduled for 2025, with other dates already being booked in 2024.

“It’s a blank canvas,” he says. “You can have 1,000 booths or dinner for 3,000 people in there if you want. … You can do just about anything.”

Pegasus Entertainment can provide myriad options for seating, lighting, decorations, and more at Oakland Event Center. || Photo by OMA Comp