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More than 100 businesses ..Promotion, sales draw exhibitors to show

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by Ann Bucy

SBJ Contributing Writer

The Business Expo or rather the Business & Technology Expo is upon us. With more than 100 businesses renting booth space at the University Plaza Trade Center, the Oct. 15 event should have something for everyone.

The participating companies vary in the number of years they've been involved in the expo. For some it's the first time. For others, it's a yearly tradition. But one thing they all have in common is the desire for exposure; they want people to leave the expo knowing what their companies do and who they are.

Last spring, the management of radio stations KTTS and KLTQ-The MAX were asked to promote the expo over the airwaves. They agreed to become media sponsors, as well as joining the list of exhibitors. This is the first time the stations have been involved.

George DeMarco, the general sales manager for both stations, said they decided to participate because they enjoy doing things like this in the community. "This is where we live and work, so we want to help out and be a part of things," he said.

So how will they know if their participation was a success? "It's a hard thing to measure," DeMarco said. "It's just something you do and assume it's going to be positive for you."

The Expo Files event marks the second year Mike Green, owner of Aztec Computers, has had a booth at the expo.

"Last year, our results fell into two categories," he said. "Some didn't stop by our booth, but they did see our name. Others did stop to visit, and we made contact with them.

"My initial perception was that we'd make a lot of contacts we could follow up with and make sales from that. But in actuality, we made more contacts than we realized. I expected the benefits to be short-term, but they were long-term. People were calling us months after the expo."

The most important thing Green hoped to come away with was exposure. "I wanted to meet people and have them find out what we're about. Also, the repetition of seeing our name is what makes advertising so effective."

His plans this year are to provide a forum for businesspeople to see what his company's all about. "We're not really looking to make a sale there," he said. "We're there to expose people to our services. I'll be at the booth the whole time. It's worthwhile."

Aztec (which stands for "A to Z technology") offers both consumer and business grade technology solutions: upgrades, outbound service calls and personal computer sales.

Employees of the National Art Shop are looking forward to participating in the expo for the first time."We're really excited about it," said Barbara Bowling, assistant store manager. The show will provide access to "more customers, to advertise what services and merchandise are available."

The company's focus at the expo will be its framing services and prints.

"We hope to let new businesses know that we have services that would be helpful to them," Bowling said. "We have excellent framing services, drafting and fine art supplies, greeting cards, how-to and coffee table books related to art, and prints of pieces found in museums like the Smithsonian Institute."

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