Over 70 local businesses participated in the 24th Annual Montebello Business Expo last week, hoping to stimulate the local economy by urging local residents and fellow businesses to spend their money in the city.
The expo was sponsored by the Montebello Chamber of Commerce and held April 4 at the Quiet Canon, a restaurant and banquet facility located at the city-owned golf course.
Local businesses displaying their wares and their services included banks, restaurants, flower shops, health care facilities and jewelry stores. Food tasting, free giveaways and information for the public made for a lively event.
Chamber President Andrea Wagg said the expo, which has brought in thousands of attendees over the years, is meant to get Montebello residents to frequent local businesses and to get businesses in the city to use the services of other local businesses, thereby helping the local economy.
“Its important to keep the [sales] tax dollar local,” Wagg said. “By shopping in the local community it ensures that every [sales] tax dollar that can stay in town, does stay in town.”
Montebello City Administrator Francesca Tucker-Schuyler told EGP that the expo is one way for residents to get familiar with what businesses in the city have to offer.
“It definitely helps stimulate the local economy,” Tucker-Schuler said.
For Wagg, stimulating the local economy is essential, especially since the state has taken away redevelopment funds from cities like Montebello, leaving the work of economic stimulus to fall on local businesses.
Ryan Nomura participated in the expo to promote his business, M Flowers. He told EGP that it was not his first time as an exhibitor, adding that the expo is a good way for him to promote his business to the public.
“You get to meet different people, and this has led to new customers over the years,” Nomura said.
While the possibility of getting new customers is one of the benefits from attending the expo, Narine Evangelisti of El Camino Credit Union said it’s not the only one.
“A lot of people don’t know what we could offer and what we could do for the community,” Evangelisti said. “Our main goal isn’t gaining the new member today, its more for them to get to know us,” she explained.
“A lot of businesses are waiting for business to walk in the door and a lot of times that doesn’t happen,” Wagg said. However, in a few short hours at the expo, businesses are able to seen by residents of Montebello and surrounding cities who are eager to taste, test and learn more about the local businesses, she said.
About 65 percent of businesses at the expo this year have participated in the event for the last 20 years, Wagg said.
Denise Hagopian is one of those who has attended the expo for many years. She goes to promote her specialty store, A Heavenly Choice, she says, and to show support for the local economy.
“The business expo is my favorite thing in the entire year because it brings the business community and residents out to meet each other in a fun environment,” she said.
Residents that attended the event received coupons, free samples and information pamphlets from local businesses. Many residents attended in order socialize with local businesses outside of their store setting and in order to receive more information about the services the businesses offer.
“Even though you live in the city most people haven’t gone to every restaurant and business,” Wagg said. “The expo exposes residents to businesses they would have otherwise not gone to.”