A record number of exhibitors set up tables and showed off their merchandise or services at the 2008 Business and Consumer Expo on March 19, spilling out from the Carousel Ballroom and fully occupying the main lobby of the Doubletree Guest Suites on 4th Street. Organized by the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, the Expo provided about 70 exhibitors with the opportunity to “show their stuff” to the public and each other, to offer discounted merchandise and free resources, and to network with other businesses and organizations.
Chamber Chairman Tom Larmore said that this was the second year the Expo had been presented in the current format at the Doubletree. It drew over 400 people this year, substantially more than a year ago. Proclaiming the event to be “very successful,” Larmore said, “I’m very pleased with the way this has turned out this year.”
In addition to learning more about and sampling the offerings of the exhibitors, those attending this year’s Expo could get a free shoeshine or massage and listen to Nat Trives announce raffle winners throughout the evening, giving away everything from a Prius for the weekend or a hotel room for the night to jewelry, wine, and restaurant gift certificates. (The raffle tickets were freely distributed to those attending the free event.)
Many nonprofits set up tables at the Expo, and some were “sponsored” by various Chamber board members who paid their table registration fee. “The nonprofits like this event,” said Larmore, “because it gives them exposure to a different audience than the Nonprofit Fair on the Promenade last week” also organized by the Chamber.
The principal sponsor of this year’s Expo was Mike Sullivan’s LAcarGUY family of automobile dealers, including Lexus, Toyota, Scion, and Volkswagen agencies in Santa Monica. Additional sponsors were Beadniks beading crafts store on Arizona Avenue and Kovan Jewelers on Montana Avenue.