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Empty space offers opportunity
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Empty space offers opportunity

July 9th, 2010, 4:25 am

OCRegister.com - 5 Comments · posted by Jan Norman, small-business columnist

Long-time Orange County entrepreneur Jim Shab has come up with an unusual solution to an all-too-common problem for Orange County commercial landlords these days.

The county's abundance of empty commercial space has pushed lease rates down. Instead of following those rates downward, Shab has converted his 36,000-square-foot building in Anaheim's Platinum Triangle into a meeting and networking center for businesses and entrepreneurs.

"You can damage the value of a building by leasing for too little to traditional tenants,” Shab says, explaining his outside-the-box use for his building.

After a million-dollar makeover, the Business Expo Center at 1960 S. Anaheim Way, west of Anaheim Stadium, will have its grand opening from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 29. Shab has 30 years experience in the wireless telecommunications industry. He founded Global Telecommunications Corp., owner of a chain of Air Call Wireless stores.

The converted center has meeting rooms for all sorts of business meetings and events. It hosts weekly business expos, which rent exhibit tables for $250 apiece and kiosks for $150, and a membership networking group. The idea is to be a marketplace for individuals and companies to promote themselves to each other and the public, Shab explains.

The expo center is an alternative to hotels and schools for gatherings for everyone from business groups to motivational speakers. The challenge will be to have enough activity and members to make the experience rewarding for participants and profitable for the expo center.

"The Business Expo Center is a giant step for new businesses,” says Monica Welsh, franchise owner of Plan Ahead Events – Hollywood, adding that location is key to planning a successful event.

Mike Ames, founder of Trade American Card a barter network in Orange, says that a central location where business owners can network at reasonable prices, is important in this economy.

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