GLENDALE, Calif. — An Armenian business delegation visited the Los Angeles area from December 1 to 7 as part of the 2022 Armenian American Business Bridge and Armenian Trade Show programs, organized by the Armenian American Business Council (AABC) with the Liva Elite Business Group LLC. The International Business Relations Support Council (IBRS) in Armenia provided assistance from Armenia. The public highlight of the visit was a trade show held in Glendale on December 3-4 under the auspices of the Consulate General of the Republic of Armenia in Los Angeles. Some fifty producers from Armenia and Artsakh participated, with small booths arrayed outside at the Glendale Civic Center Plaza displayed their wares or services under tents, forming a mini “vernissage.”
Visitors to the trade show could sample many types of Armenian dried fruits and sweets from several different companies and sample different wine and other spirits produced in Armenia. Armenian-made carpets, clothing and leather goods vied for the attention of visitors. One company even had a collection of clothing embossed with Urartian cuneiform writing. The representative of a new luxury hotel in Yerevan, the Golden Palace, provided information and offered gift cards encouraging visits, while photographer Hayk Manukyan displayed photographs of Armenia’s picturesque sites, thereby promoting tourism, and noted that proceeds from sales would go to help needy families in Armenia.
In addition to the usual products that one would expect to see at a vernissage, there were high tech companies such as Volta, providing solar energy and heating solutions, and traditional manufacturers of items such as plastic cups and containers. Other booths highlighted specialized importers of medical devices to Armenia and Artsakh (AM Medical Group); a company providing laboratory analysis of food, drugs, tobacco and microbiological substances (FDA Laboratory); producers of vitamins and other medical products (Tonus-Les), and a company producing products based on microbiological techniques (JV Smart Technologies Systems, the Armenian branch of a company based in Riga, Latvia). The Legara transportation company offered its services in Armenia, Artsakh and Georgia for moving cargo and leasing minivans and buses, as well as freight transportation to neighboring countries.
Several of the participants explained on December 3 that in addition to familiarizing people with Armenian products, the participants in the business delegation hoped to establish business-to-business connections in separate meetings as well as through a business conference that the city of Glendale was hosting on December 5. For example, the dried fruit producers hoped that their products could be sold in various American supermarkets or grocery stores through the connections this trip would make. The participants also said that there was great competition in Armenia to get accepted into the business delegation, so that only a small number of applicants succeeded in joining the trip.
According to the Facebook site of the Armenian Consulate General in Los Angeles, the business delegation visited their offices on December 1 to meet with Counselor Nazeli Hambardzumyan, and on the next day was hosted by the Glendale City Council and Mayor Ardashes Kassakhian. The counselor, mayor, and members of IBRS and AABC delivered welcoming speeches at the official opening of the trade show on December 3.
The city of Glendale provided the space for the trade show and some of the other events. It also helped in making some introductions of the vendors to people who could help them with marketing in the US. Mayor Ardashes Kassakhian later declared, “We wanted to provide whatever assistance we could because we believe that given our large Armenian population, good trade relations with Armenia are critical…And the timing could not be more perfect because it also coincides with the holidays, so a lot of folks from our community came out to do their holiday shopping.” He noted that in a sense all this is a continuation of the mercantile spirit of the Armenian people, which has been evident for at least several thousand years.