West Coast Expo Builds on Success

Successful first year paves the way for 2005 event...Franchise exhibitions are generally educational, motivational and mutually beneficial to franchise companies and prospective franchisees. But how many of them can be compared to a three-day show stopper? That was the feedback from the 2004 West Coast Franchise Expo (WCFE), the first of its kind that has set the stage for a command performance when the 2005 West Coast Franchise Expo takes place on 4th-6th November at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Stephanie Durham reports

Borrowing on its inaugural year where WCFE hosted over 130 exhibitors and 7,936 attendees, and adding even more highlights to the agenda, the 2005 West Coast Franchise Expo promises an upbeat atmosphere, fast pace and camaraderie - the perfect mix of business and pleasure for those who attend. The show already has quality endorsements from last year. 'This reminds me of the 'Go-Go' show days of the late 80s and early 90s, for those of us who can remember that far back!' says It's A Grind Coffee Senior Vice President Steve Olson. 'The show was certainly extraordinary, producing quality candidates throughout the event.'

The West Coast Franchise Expo has already found a core audience, since it is organised by MFV Expositions, the experts who also produce the International Franchise Expo (IFE) in Washington, D.C. Both events are sponsored by the International Franchise Association.

'After consistently positive results with the IFE, it was time for us to find a way to better service regional markets,' says Joel Goldstein, Director of Marketing for MFV Expositions. 'Since the IFE attracts so many east coast franchisees, the west coast was a natural choice for expansion. Our success in our first year proved that it is an effective way for connecting with prospective franchisees on the west coast.

'The expo combines exhibits representing the sector's most recognised brands along with exciting new concepts and provides leading franchise experts who will share insights on this thriving sector. It's a great opportunity to connect with prospective franchisees in the West.'

Adds MFV Expositions Show Director Richard Macaluso: 'If you're seeking to expand into western states, the West Coast Franchise Expo is the place to get it done. We expect prospective franchisees from 10 western states and at every level of investment. WCFE is a tremendous opportunity to meet the people to help grow your business. Positive response is achieved through meticulous coordination, and a combination of industry experts, well-known brands and targeting attendees who are genuinely interested in franchising as a long-term career.

'Those new to franchising, seasoned franchise veterans and franchisees looking for creative ways to maintain their business will all find something to benefit them at the expo. Based on last year's results, a wide range of attendees will benefit from seminars like 'Buying a Franchise', 'Franchising Your Business' and 'Acquiring a Master Franchise'. Exhibitors also will be exposed to quality prospective franchisees.

'The 2004 West Coast Franchise Expo delivered a consistent stream of visitors from the opening ceremonies right through to closing on Sunday afternoon. Exhibitors were pleased to greet such a highly qualified group of prospects and noted their willingness to find out more about the variety of franchise concepts available. Providing an opportunity to educate attendees and the forum to evaluate the array of franchise concepts presented is what West Coast Franchise Expo is all about. In 2005 an extensive selection of new showcases as well as returning exhibitors will be on hand.'

The WCFE also features face-to-face meetings and specialised seminars for those who need more detailed information on growing a successful franchise. 'We have such a diversity of qualified franchisees,' says Joel. 'Through our minority seminar programmes, programmes for veterans and those for women in franchising, we connect with those whose franchising opportunity queries might not be covered in more general sessions.' Other seminars include 'How to Sell Your First Franchise', 'The Basics of Master Franchising' and 'Choosing the Right Franchise.'

Exhibitors are still seeing positive results from last year's event, and say that it is a great place to network and help grow their business. 'We really did not know what to expect, not having attended this event before, but my company rated last year's show as excellent!' says Frank Feely, Vice President of Franchise Development at CARD$MART. 'The show attendance was outstanding. The number of qualified leads and expected closings were beyond our expectations.'

Concerto Networks Founder & CEO Raymond Hivoral adds: 'What a turnout! We received great responses at the WCFE from a number of qualified prospects. Many of them were immediately interested in moving forward and taking the next step toward coming on board with Concerto Networks. We have already contracted space for next year's show. We're looking forward to it!'