For small businesses looking to broaden their customer base, events like Sunday’s Taste of Montrose have helped boost sales during the prolonged recession.
La Cañada Flintridge-based Food Art Catering & Events had relied on word of mouth for five years, which co-owner Sharon Giragosian said had worked out great for the business.
“But this year, unfortunately, we found the need to start advertising,” she said.
When she and her husband found out two weeks ago about the food-tasting event, they got on board in hopes of expanding their clientele, Giragosian said.
Chef Nadav Bashan, owner of Bashan restaurant in Montrose, has participated in the event for two years.
After last year’s event, he said his restaurant in the 3400 block of North Verdugo Road saw a slight jump in customers.
The event, he said, allows him to introduce Bashan to the community.
“We have been there 2 1/2 years now, and either people know us and love us, or they are like, ‘Who are you?’” Bashan said.
While the event gave participating businesses a chance to woo customers with samples of their food, it also allowed them help raise funds for Crescenta Valley High School’s Prom Plus celebration.
“This is a way to avert any further fatalities and give the kids a safe venue in which to have a good time,” Giragosian said. “It’s too bad that more schools and more communities don’t do the same.”
About 24 vendors, including Glendale-based Damon’s Steak House and Montrose-based Franks Famous Kitchen and Catering, participated in the food-tasting event, which cost $20 per person.
All proceeds will go to the high school’s Alice In Wonderland-themed Prom Plus celebration.
Prom Plus is held every year after the high school’s regular prom ends. The event, which has games, food and activities, is deemed a safe alternative to unsupervised prom parties that have resulted in fatalities.
Parents and students host events throughout the year to raise funds for the event, which costs about $20,000, said Robin Goldsworthy, a member of Crescenta Valley High School’s Prom Plus Committee.
“It helps show how there is something else to do here,” said Aimee Yeghiayan, a sophomore and president of Crescenta Valley High School’s Prom Plus Club. “Kids always say there is nothing to do in this community, but we are making sure that there are other things. There are always alternatives.”