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Business exposition anticipates 5,000 attendees

As economy weakens, exhibitors hope to connect with consumers, one another

Posted: October 11, 2008 8:17 p.m.
Updated: December 13, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Officials anticipate about 5,000 people will attend the home and business expo in the College of the Canyons parking lot weekend. The event continues today.

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More than 100 exhibitors handed out goody bags, networked with each other and greeted potential customers as the 24th annual Home and Business Expo opened its tent flaps Saturday on a windy College of the Canyons parking lot.

“Last night went great; we had 30 food vendors,” said Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce representative Gary Choppe, referring to Friday’s Taste of Expo that kicked off the weekend expo.

This year, for the first time, nonprofit organizations were invited to attend the chamber-sponsored event, which was expected to attract more than 5,000 locals and visitors, according to the chamber’s Web site.

“We’re here to promote awareness,” said David Davis of the ALS Association, which aims to fight Lou Gehrig’s Disease. “I don’t care if only 10 people come through if we can at least help one.”

Community members who attended were pleased.

“I’m picking up a lot of useful info,” said Vicki Brill of Canyon Country. “I came to grab career placement info for my son and I’m surprised to see so many businesses.”

But some exhibitors said community attendance wasn’t as high as they hoped it would be. “I’m here to promote my business and talk to other business owners,” said Randi Tyrrell from Santa Clarita Free Classifieds. “But there is low traffic. Everybody seems to be struggling. People are watching their dollars.”

“It’s a beautiful day. Maybe people are doing something else,” said Carl Pellegrino of Sports Clips Haircuts. “You’d think with where the economy is, people would want to come to learn how to save a buck or two.”

Home and business company representatives remained positive as they handed out free pens, gift bags and even massages.

SportClips went the extra mile with a blow-up mascot athlete who roamed the aisles, bumping into wanderers to promote his haircutting firm.

“This kind of venue is great,” said Jamie Orlich of Spectrum. “It brings the community together.
“This is the type of activity we need so people can start having more confidence about investing in this valley.”

The Home and Business Expo continues today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at College of the Canyons, corner of Rockwell Canyon Road and Valencia Boulevard in Valencia.

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