The business and community resources of Santa Monica are always in a state of flux. It can be quite challenging to keep up with all the new products and services out there for both businesses and residents. The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce’s (SMCC) 2009 Business and Consumer Expo gave the community and business owners the chance to learn more about one another.Brandon Smith, who is the SMCC’s Director of Marketing and Events, told the Mirror that this year’s Expo “had more participants than they had room for” in the Santa Monica Sheraton Delfina’s ballroom. They had 95 exhibitor requests but only had space for 81. Last year they had about 60 exhibitors. Smith believes more businesses wanted to participate this year than last year because of the downturn in the economy. It is less expensive for a business to have an exhibit at the Expo than to advertise “to gain exposure” in other ways. He also mentioned that a lot of potential small business owners attended to get information on how to start a business and be successful.SMCC doesn’t know exactly how many people attended but they estimate that 300 to 400 people attended from the community.This year the City of Santa Monica had quite a few exhibits to help highlight its many services that are available to both businesses and City residents. Another area emphasized by this year’s exhibitors was eco-friendly products. Attendees got a chance to learn, among other things, about products to help them cut their energy costs and eliminate their use of plastic water bottles. There was also an exhibitor who helps recycle used electronic materials such as computers.Various green transportation alternatives were also displayed. There was a taxi company that uses fuel-efficient taxis and a dealer of Segways.A lot of nonprofits participated in order to get the word out about what they do and how the community can help them with their various missions. These nonprofits included those that work with the homeless, the disabled, youth, seniors, and those who may need help to deal with a natural disaster.There were also plenty of exhibitors who specialized in web design, interior design, and various forms of advertising. Smith mentioned that the SMCC hopes to expand next year’s Expo so it “will be a resource for the entire community” and become an event “for what people fell passionate about.” One of the ways it hopes to improve its marketing of the event is to advertise on-line because the Chamber feels this has become the best way to reach the community and businesses. It also hopes to secure a larger venue for this continually expanding event.
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