More than 250 people and 40 businesses attended Tuesday evening’s “Doing Business in Paradise” business expo and trade show presented by the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce at the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center.
Although the event’s attendance dipped about four years ago, it seems people are now more apt to meet people in person than to rely on sending emails, according to Marcia Reed, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s an alternative to do everything we do online. We used to do five of these a year, but the Internet has changed the way we do business,” Reed said. “Now it seems to be changing again. People would rather have a phone call than send an email, and as you can see, people like to come here and meet people.”
Chocolates du CaliBressan opened a new store at 1114 State St. in April, and co-owner Jill-Marie Carré said the event is particularly useful for someone new to Santa Barbara.
“We came here to interact with other businesses, and since I’m new to Santa Barbara as far as having two feet on the ground, I want to get to know other business owners and possibly work together,” said Carré, adding that each of her stores is planning to hire about two new employees.
The trade show also benefits more established businesses such as Santa Barbara Axxess, according to client manager Matt Phar. Santa Barbara Axxess is a community directory that has partnered with local businesses to provide member discounts and support local schools for the past 12 years.
“It’s good for our exposure and a good event to meet other local businesses and professionals in the area,” Phar said. “You can’t replace meeting someone face-to-face and having an actual conversation, no matter what business you are.”
“We wanted to create awareness that we’re in the community and that we offer an MBA for working professionals,” corporate relations director Steve Ralph said. “This is a great venue for that.”
Other businesses included the 805 Deli, the American Laser Center, the Boys & Girls Club, the Butler Event Center, Casa Serena, the Chari Center for Health for Health, Cox Communications, DocuProducts, the Jane Macedo de Veer Agency, Kaleidoscope Flowers, Bookkeeping Experts, Limotta IT, Marmalade Cafe, Montecito Bank & Trust, Nimita’s Cuisine, Open Air Photobooth, the Pacific Coast Business Times, POS Systems of Santa Barbara, Village Properties, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, the American Red Cross-Santa Barbara County Chapter, the Santa Barbara Chamber and Visitor Center, Santa Barbara Community Phone Books, the Santa Ynez Valley Visitors Association, the Scheinfeld Center/SBCC, SCORE, the Southern California Reproductive Center, Spherion, SuperMedia LLC, Tom Reed & Friends, Trenton Caine The Magician, the Unity Shoppe, Villa Santa Barbara, Wayne Kjar Cakes and Wilson Printing.