Question: It is expected that a major event venue will generate benefit to local businesses as well as impacting the quality of life for residents. But what has been the single most surprising benefit to business in your community you have seen or experienced?
Founder & Owner
Sector: Real Estate
We feel that the huge events that come to the Phoenix area are more of a “meet and greet” opportunity for the Valley. They give the visitor a chance to soak up our winter sunshine and dream about what they are missing when they return home. However, they also tend to interrupt normal business in many ways. For something as simple as real estate open houses, in many cases the actual attendance drops. The potential visitors are entirely engaged with the events that they came to the Valley to attend. And when Phoenix hosted the Super Bowl, the real estate community encountered many situations where our regular winter visitors were priced out of their normal winter housing. Because they were forced to seek other cities to spend the winter, they have never returned to our market. I don’t mean to be a business downer. Rather, I think that to capture a marketing opportunity created by our world-quality events, one needs to modify one’s expectations of what will actually come out of the event from a new business perspective.
Howard Lein is owner of RE/MAX Excalibur Realty, a Scottsdale-based RE/MAX franchise comprised of four operating offices, with 240 associates. Lein’s multiple industry recognitions include RE/MAX International’s Broker/Owner of the Year, Multi Office Award. His extensive community involvement includes co-founding the Arizona chapter of Sentinels of Freedom.
VP of Sales and Finance
Special Moments Catering
What I am always surprised with is how many causes wedding and event venues support, many times free of charge. I have seen some of the smallest event venues get behind a cause I would have never heard of and help raise substantial funds for a family in need. What I find most appealing is, many of these venues consider this just business as usual. They operate as a normal business would but instead of pouring massive dollars into paid advertising they often choose to spend these funds on opening their doors to community-based fundraisers simply because it’s the right thing to do.
I have seen complete weddings given away by a venue for a returning veteran who suffered substantial injury while on duty. A few years ago, my family’s company helped a venue raise funds for the children of a local law enforcement officer who had been diagnosed with a very rare disease and died shortly after the event. These venues become a piece of the community that stand alongside the people they serve, in good times and in hard times.
Growing up working alongside his parents, Brad Taylor started with Special Moments as a dishwasher at a very young age, slowly moving through the ranks as a driver, server, banquet captain and sales representative. He entered the business full time after graduating from ASU with a Bachelor of Science with an emphasis in Finance. He counts among his greatest accomplishments orchestrating the Super Bowl catering in 2008 and 2015.
President & CEO
Mega events not only bring large-scale tourism business, they build business from the ground up. A wonderful example is how the visit to a treasured signature festival in Historic Downtown Glendale for a California couple turned into an investment in the community, which will have a long-term positive economic impact to the area. This couple came to our Glendale Glitters Spectacular Weekend in Historic Downtown Glendale. This event, now in its 21st year, welcomes 75,000 visitors during its three-day opening weekend. The couple not only enjoyed the festivities, they fell in love with the area and purchased, renovated and repurposed several historic buildings, keeping the historic architecture intact. The buildings feature a diverse offering of businesses, including the Gaslight Inn Bed & Breakfast showcasing the original tin ceiling, a wine and beer bar, the elegant Desert Rose Steakhouse, a gastropub and pizzeria, and an ultra-chic cigar lounge featuring exposed adobe walls and examples of the early knob and tube wiring. Their businesses have generated an excitement in the community and are fast becoming favorite destinations for both local residents and visitors.
Lorraine Zomok is president and CEO for the Glendale Convention & Visitors Bureau — which she created in 2010 from a coalition of nearly 300 West Valley tourism and hospitality partners to be the first CVB in the West Valley — and Visit Glendale. Now in her second term on Arizona’s Tourism Advisory Council, she also serves on numerous other professional and community organizations.
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