View Mobile Site

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos


Local expos feeling effects of weakening economy

But will run as planned this week

Posted: October 9, 2008 8:59 p.m.
Updated: December 11, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Home and Business Expo held at College of the Canyons last year. Home and Business Expo held at College of the Canyons last year.
Home and Business Expo held at College of the Canyons last year.

The Home and Business Expo goes on as scheduled this weekend with organizers boasting a full tent despite the sluggish economy, which claimed a similar event earlier this year.

"We're not down or disappointed," said Larry Mankin, president and CEO of the SCV Chamber of Commerce.

"It's been harder to get companies this year," he acknowledged, but said he expects between 3,500 and 5,000 people to attend the expo and visit the 150 vendor booths set up at College of the Canyons.

"We've got a full tent," he said.

The Home and Garden Expo, scheduled this month at Saugus Speedway, was canceled due to the slow economy and struggling housing market, said Terri Burbank, Saugus Speedway general manager.

"We didn't feel that we could offer the best fall show," she said. "We wanted to be able to concentrate on spring."

The spring Home and Garden Expo is set for May 2009.

John Murray plans to spend most of his weekend at College of the Canyons, greeting the crowds of consumers expected at the chamber's 24th annual event.

"It gives us a chance to talk to the public," said Murray, owner of John Murray Plumbing.

Murray hopes to answer plumbing-related questions from people while connecting with potential customers.

The expo also is a way for him to thank all of his customers for their business over the company's 20-year history, he said.

"I personally try to be there as much as I can," he said.

Setting up a booth at the annual Home and Business Expo is a tradition for Murray, who has attended for more than a decade and always receives a positive response.

"It's a good weekend thing at the right time of year," he said.

The event comes at a time when Murray has seen a slowdown in business.

While he said his phone is still ringing, his team of 20 plumbers doesn't have a backlog of orders as in previous years.

"I definitely see a turn in the economy," he said.

So does Mankin.

"We, like a lot of other groups, have seen the participation levels for things like this drop," he said.

The difficulties stem from finding businesses that can spend money on marketing.

The economy has made it tougher for businesses to spend money on advertising and marketing, said Burbank.

"Even though people need clients in order to help their businesses survive, they can't always afford to staff the booth," she said.

At the same time, when the housing market suffers, people don't have enough money to fund remodeling projects.

Without enough potential customers, Burbank believes businesses don't want to spend the money to staff a booth at a weekend expo.

"It's a vicious circle at this point," she said.

Once the economy settles, "People will look more at putting funds in the home," she said.

In previous years, the fall Home and Garden Expo, which has been held for more than 10 years, drew some 5,000 people, while the springtime event brought about 8,500. The average number of vendors was 100, Burbank said.

The spring expo is a bigger event because May is home improvement month and people receive money from tax returns, Burbank said.

Each business that can afford to set up booths can turn its station into a "second store front," Mankin said.

With a projected 3,500 to 5,000 attendees over the weekend, Mankin believes businesses have the ability to pull in new customers.

Along with the entertainment, consumers can get a lot out of visiting with the vendors.

"Consumers can find some great deals," he said, adding that customers can find the newest products and services in the marketplace.


Commenting not available.
Commenting is not available.


Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...