Festival offers networking opportunities for small businesses

Megan Mojica
Staff Writer

A few thousand local residents and almost 30 vendors attended the Old Magnolia Festival, presented by Historic Downtown Upland Inc., last weekend in downtown Upland.

Residents had the chance to listen to live rock music, view BMX stunt performers doing flips on ramps, go rock climbing or take leisurely stroll around the streets and shop from a variety of vendors selling products such as lemonade, jewelry, some pop culture art pieces, clothing, and more.

The festival was a great opportunity for many small, local businesses to network and make sales. It brought exposure for many of the vendors in attendance but also brought in revenue for the shops surrounding the festival.

Mike Manougian, owner of A World of Decor and More, a custom furnishings and jewelry shop, said he chose to have a booth in the festival additionally to his store as a way to help with foot-traffic.

“I was just excited just because of the traffic, the store is so small we can’t fit everyone in here,” Manougian said. “We get a huge traffic in here sometimes so it was a great idea to have that extra booth so we can duplicate our items.”

Manougian said the idea turned out to be great in terms of traffic and its impact on sales. But Manougian said they are not only looking at the sales from the festival but they are also looking toward future sales through initiatives like handing out coupons.

Vendor and independent artist Jesse Rodriguez said he came out to the event with many of the artists in attendance, as they are typically a group who travel together. Rodriguez said his experience at the festival was good as he got to meet some new people and catch up with some old friends.

“This event is rad. Everybody’s in a good mood and super happy, the weather is really nice and it was fun,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said the festival was also a great way for himself to get out of his house and make some money, which he is grateful for.

The festival additionally helped to bring the community together.

La Verne resident Linda Boholt said she came out to the event to support her friend’s lemonade stand in the festival but was happily shocked with the atmosphere.

“I came down here to try it and support him and so I was very pleasantly surprised when I got here there was music, it was fun,” Boholt said.

Rio Silvano Alcantar, Upland resident, said he came out to the event because as a way to get into the community more and enjoy the sunshine and people.

“So far the events been great,” Silvano Alcantar said. “I bought myself two rings here, got myself some lemonade, came with my girlfriend so we kind of just wanted to come over here and just enjoy the people and walk around.”

Silvano Alcantar said he hopes the city continues to host events like the festival to strengthen the community.

“This is what the world needs, we need community, we need to bring people together and this is the perfect place to do it, downtown Upland,” said Silvano Alcantar.

For more information, visit historicdowntownupland.org.

Megan Mojica can be reached at megan.mojica@laverne.edu.

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