Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 5:50 PM on Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Homer businesses invited to participate in Marine Expo marketing opportunities

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

Eager to let others know what Homer has to offer, Homer Port and Harbor officials and Homer's Marine Trades Association are inviting others to join them at the Pacific Marine Expo to be held at the Qwest Field and Event Center in Seattle Nov. 17-19.

"It's an opportunity for the marine trades to have their small businesses represented on the floor of the expo," said Kate Mitchell of NOMAR, who, along with Gary Squires of Redden Marine and Mike Stockburger of Homer Boat Yard, are leading the effort.

To take advantage of this opportunity to reach the expo's thousands of visitors, local business owners can pay $100 to be listed on a brochure that will be handed out at Homer's booth, as well as listed on the marine trades online directory at www.homermarinetrades.com.

Championing Homer as "the No. 1 Alaskan port for all your boating needs," the marine trades website lists local marine-related businesses that include everything from boat building to welding. Even cab and car rentals to get visiting boat-owners from Point A to Point B while in Homer are among the businesses listed.

Specifics of the harbor are included, such as stalls, transient mooring, fuel floats, fish dock services, the depth of the harbor, available grids and fees.

"For the small (business owner), there'll be a lot of bang for that $100," said Mitchell.

For an additional $100, businesses can supply a stand-alone rack card that will be made available at the booth.

"There will also be a PowerPoint presentation, a rolling-screen TV with reasons why to bring a boat to Homer, so for an additional $100 you can have a 60-second presentation on your business and we'll help produce it," said Mitchell.

The deadline to take advantage of the offer is Oct. 15.

Last year the city partnered with the Alaska Association of Harbormasters as exhibitors at the boat show in Seattle in March.

"That's a really big show, but I realized that maybe that wasn't exactly our target audience," said Bryan Hawkins, harbormaster, of the small-boat crowd. "We wanted to take advantage of an opportunity to market to some of the larger commercial vessels and the expo is the prime spot for that."

Since representing the Homer harbor is the same as representing the city of Homer, Hawkins and local marine trades representatives decided to partner for the upcoming expo.

"Of course, the main emphasis is commercial vessels that come to the harbor," said Hawkins. "Vessel owners are looking for service industry contacts and the Marine Trades Association is the central location for that information."

Presented by National Fisherman and Workboat.com, the Pacific Marine Expo is advertised as "the largest commercial marine tradeshow on the West Coast." It addresses the interests of commercial vessel owners, fishermen, boat builders and seafood processors. Buyers have their eyes open for everything they need, "from bow to stern, for the most important component of their business, the boat," according to the expo's website.

If being in the company of almost 400 exhibitors isn't enough, there are the thousands of people that pass through the exhibit each day from "Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, whoever commercial fishes," said Squires. "There's lots of boats out west and everywhere else that come here to get worked on. That's why we're going."

Participating in the expo isn't new to Redden Marine, but partnering with the city is.

"We do this every year," said Squires. "This year marine trades and the harbor are going together. We've never done that before."

Mitchell describes the expo as "the one-stop-shop to learn how to be in business and how to make your business better."

"Every fisherman who made enough money to get a ticket this year will be down there," said Mitchell.

That makes it a fitting spot for Homer businesses.

"Homer is known for its tremendous marine support industry," said Hawkins. "Tradesmen from Homer are well-known throughout the fleet. This is a popular place to come and get work done on your vessel."

For more information, call Mitchell at 235-8363. To learn more about the Pacific Marine Expo see www.pacificmarineexpo.com.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.