This year’s Business and Consumer Expo, presented by the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce, was, in a word, busy. Crowds crammed the aisles in a ballroom of the Sheraton Delfina Hotel, flocking to tables where they picked up souvenirs ranging from coupons to cookies, and information from brochures, media kits, business cards, and friendly representatives.
Exhibitors ranged from non-profits specializing in health and education to City agencies such as the Department of Planning and Community Development (giving out free copies of the Draft LUCE on CD), to both corporate and small businesses. The Mirror talked with some of these exhibitors to learn about their products and services.
At Santa Monica Seafood, Katie White and Casey Bernstein explained that the company started in 1939 on the Santa Monica Pier, selling fresh seafood. It expanded to fish and seafood distribution and now has a retail store and restaurant on Wilshire Boulevard where, on February 20, a 71st anniversary event was held with food samplings throughout the day.
Green Printing in West Los Angeles is named for the owner, Brian Green. But Green told the Mirror that his company is also “green” in the sense that it uses soy-based inks and, when possible, recycled paper. Green Printing offers one to four-color printing of brochures, stationery, business cards, flyers, catalogues, and also specialty services like website design.
Upward Bound House, one of the non-profits at the Expo, is a transition shelter for homeless families. Dara Lasky and Tracy Chin described their services which include 21 housing units for families with children, a thrift store, food pantry, and clubs for kids. They’ve also just opened another shelter in Culver City that accommodates 18 more families.
At Santa Monica Tooth Doctor, Lisette Valenzuela and Gladys Avila gave out kits with toothbrushes, floss, and toothpaste. The Tooth Doctor, Ali Mogharai, D.D.S., does tooth whitening (cosmetic) as well as general dentistry and is open late in the evenings and on Saturdays.
The major sponsor for the Expo was LaCarGuy and at this table, several auto dealers gave out cards, including Truman De La Cruz of Toyota Santa Monica, who said “Ask me anything about Toyotas—you can call me,” even when this reporter admitted to not being a driver.
Among the many other exhibitors were Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus, the Santa Monica Police and Fire Departments, the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation, City of Santa Monica Solid Waste Management, Meals on Wheels West, OPCC, the YMCA and YWCA, and even the Santa Monica Mirror, with its own table displaying Mirror publications.
Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Laurel Rosen pointed out that the annual Expo shows that people in Santa Monica support each other’s businesses. “When you get here, there’s a vibrancy.” The grand prize for the local trivia raffle at the Expo included goodies from local businesses because the theme, said Rosen, was “Stay and play in your own backyard.”
And if the attendance at this Expo was any indication, that backyard seems to be thriving.
Mirror Contributing Writer[email protected]