Mon | Dec 10, 2018

Deals sealed - Expo Jamaica 2018 ends on high note

Published:Monday | April 23, 2018 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue/Senior Staff Reporter
Janice Forrester (left), manager of Jan's Accents, plays with a snake which was part of the Hope Zoo exhibit at Expo Jamaica 2018.
The exhibits on display at Expo Jamaica 2018.
June Gottgens (right) showcases samples of her product, umium coconut chocolate spread, at Expo Jamaica 2018 inside the National Indoor Sports Centre and National Arena yesterday.
June Gottgens (right) showcases samples of her product, umium coconut chocolate spread, at Expo Jamaica 2018 inside the National Indoor Sports Centre and National Arena yesterday.
Kareen Lamme (right), licensed beauty therapist of Bute Cosmetics, shows Prime Minister Andrew Holness her product while Michelle Chong (centre), president of the Jamaica Exporters' Association, during a tour of Expo Jamaica 2018 at the National Indoor Sports Centre and the National Arena yesterday.
Anthony Henry, of Solar Buzz Jamaica, shows a solar light to Caman Ellis at Expo Jamaica 2018.
Taina Webb, customer service representative at The Herald Printers Ltd, displays a calendar produced by the company, at Expo Jamaica 2018.
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With an almost capacity crowd, including Prime Minister Andrew Holness, attending yesterday's final day of Expo Jamaica 2018 at the National Area and National Indoor Sports Centre, satisfied Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) officials said that many exhibitors had sold out stock, and buyers were still sealing deals in the final hours.

The prime minister toured both venues - which offered an array of products and services - and chatted with exhibitors and visitors alike.

Tired, but smiling, from the four-day "impactful and successful" event, sales and promotions manager at JAMPRO Berletta Henlon Forrester said that 600 buyers were registered, but 500 made a presence over the four days, and some who were unregistered came in on the final day.

"The exhibitors were many and varied and the product quality was great, especially the labelling, and, I imagine, the taste of the foods," Henlon Forrester told The Gleaner.

"Several exhibitors said that they ran out of stock. And, best of all, several have said to us that they could have left from Friday because whatever they invested, they made that many times over from sales and deals they signed."

She said that JAMPRO was very pleased with the responses from exhibitors and buyers and restated the agency's role in establishing long-term relationships between both.

Buyers from Colombia, Japan, Singapore, and Australia were among the 500 who came.

"Planning for Expo 2020 begins 18 months from the date. And so I am appealing to local manufacturers to contact us early so we can seek to recruit the buyers best suited for your products. It is unfortunate that some manufacturers lost out on the opportunity to showcase what they have because they waited until the last minute," said Ricardo Durrant, senior manager for sales and promotions at JAMPRO.

Some small manufacturers are already making enquiries about other shows, he said.

Long lines led to exhibitors offering finger foods and drinks, and watermelon sales were very robust when The Gleaner visited the farmers' market. Children and teens were enthralled by activities, and in the fun city organised for them, kickboxing was a hit with boys.

The Ministry of Education, through its Learn Earn Give and Save programme, also had exhibitors encouraging unattached youth between 18-29-years to be part of the programme, which seeks to train them, offers a stipend, as well as encourages individuals to give back to the community and to save from the earnings.

The Young Entrepreneurs Association of Jamaica (YEAJ), an umbrella organisation representing some 400 members, presented an array of offerings at the expo.

Eleanor Wright, co-chair for special projects at the YEAJ, said that several enquiries had been made regarding the exhibits while site visits were secured for others.

Imega Breeze McNab, executive director of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association, said that her organisation couldn't have asked for more.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com