Local chambers ready for business expo

The economy may continue to sputter, but local business leaders are preparing for another wall-to-wall crowd at the 10th annual Tri-Chamber Foothills Community Business Expo next week.

The expo, which will start at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 8 at Verdugo Hills Hospital, is sponsored by the Crescenta Valley, La Cañada Flintridge and Montrose-Verdugo City chambers of commerce as a means to foster local commerce, organizers said.

"The event annually serves to introduce our community to their neighbor businesses," said Ted Ayala, executive director of the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce. "It serves as a gateway to explore these businesses and get to know the services that the Crescenta Valley offers."

More than 60 businesses are expected to participate, said Ayala, including banks, restaurants, travel agents, technology service providers, medical care providers and nonprofit agencies. They will be providing information, samples and demonstrations while mixing and mingling with attendees.

In addition, a paper-shredding company will be at the event to shred up to seven boxes of paper per business, free of charge.

The expo typically attracts about 500 people, Ayala said. Admission is free.

Attendees will be provided with a "passport," said Jean Maluccio, president of the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce. Those who collect stamps from all participating businesses will be given 10 free raffle tickets.

And the expo does more than expose residents to their merchants, she said.

"Even the businesses that come in, they find that they network quite well together too," Maluccio said.

In bedroom communities such as La Crescenta and La Cañada, residents sometimes overlook local retailers and do their shopping near their workplaces, said Pat Anderson, chief executive of the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce.

The expo provides an affordable way for local businesses to present their product to a large number of people while networking with one another. And it saves consumers the trouble of driving around town, or surfing the Internet, organizers said.

The local tax revenue also helps fund critical city services, she said.

"In a city such as La Cañada Flintridge, it is important to keep our tax dollars local," Anderson said. "The local tax dollars represent about 16 to 23% of city's General Fund, and that equates to around $2 million or more."

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