Shopping at the Dulles Town Center on Oct. 19 will be anything but “Business as Usual.”
The Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce plans to showcase more than 120 Loudoun businesses in a one-day trade show, this year called "Dulles Connection Expo 2002: Because It’s Not 'Business as Usual.'”
“It just means that, in spite of a slow economy and some tension around the world, we’re moving forward,” said Randy Collins, chamber president. “The wheels of commerce won’t stop turning.”
The Expo is designed to attract customers interested in shopping for business products and services and shoppers who are already at the mall.
“Since it’s held on a Saturday, it tends to be more of a consumer-related event,” Collins said. “That’s the day the mall gets the most visitors.”
The mall averages 10,000 visitors on Saturdays, compared to 3,000 to 4,000 visitors during the rest of the week. While shopping, some of the visitors may be tempted to stop at the Expo booths for banks, insurance companies, technology companies, Internet providers, and businesses that provide business and personal services.
THE BUSINESSES involved in the Expo will be promoting, marketing and providing information on their products and services, but will not be able to make any direct sales. They can take orders, set up appointments and collect information and business cards from prospective customers.
“Most of the companies use the Expo more for visibility and promotion on their products and services, rather than seeing some direct benefit,” Collins said. “Our show is the whole yellow book of Loudoun County.”
“It’s a great opportunity for small businesses to gain a tremendous amount of exposure in a short amount of time for a minimal amount of money,” said Alison Farr, marketing and communications director for the chamber. “It’s good for larger businesses also. If they want to penetrate the local market, it’s a good way for them to support their community and to let the local community know they are here.”
The booths for the Expo will be set up in the wings of the mall and in the pedestrian public areas, mostly on the ground level with some of the booths on the second floor. The sponsors will be located in the center court, the site of the information booth near the main entrance. This year’s grand sponsor is America Online (AOL) Inc.
“AOL looked at it as a way to get involved in the chamber,” said Mark Stavish, vice-president of human resources at AOL. “It’s part of being a good corporate citizen to make sure we can facilitate the economic growth and health in Loudoun County.”
A JOB FAIR Court will be included in the Expo to provide recruiting opportunities for employers and job services for job seekers. George Washington University will sponsor a Professional Development Center to provide information on continuing education programs and on resume writing. The Job Fair is expected to include 15 to 20 booths.
The chamber has held the Expo since the early 1980s, locating the event at the Dulles Town Center when it opened in 1999.
The Dulles Connection Expo is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 19.
The chamber will accept booth spaces until Oct. 15. Eighty booths are available.