There was a lot of trickery going on Thursday morning on the activity aisle of the Mississippi Business and Technology Expo.
Magician Robert Day had drawn a crowd of almost 20 people at his booth and was dazzling them with card tricks and sleight of hand that left eyes wide and jaws dropped.
“Ooooohhhh, man,” said one man after Day completed one particularly impossible trick.
The mood was equally light among exhibitors at Expo, a special project of the Mississippi Business Journal.
Several reported that foot traffic had not suffered much, a bit of good news in a daily whirlwind of economic trouble.
Robert Eubanks and Lane Wade, both regional sales managers for Howard Technology Solutions in Laurel and Ellisville, were manning the booth that was one of the first visitors saw upon entering the Mississippi Trademart.
“It seems that (Wednesday’s crowd) was possibly smaller,” Eubanks said. “I think the (grand opening of the) convention center had a direct impact on that.
“Even though the traffic might have been slower yesterday, the quality of opportunities that have come out of yesterday are still pretty high. The show still has a lot of value.”
A prime spot in the front does not hurt.
“We’ve had more traffic, better traffic,” Wade said. Howard had a spot in the middle last year. “People talk to you a bit more, you get a little bit more exposure.”
A booth in the middle part of the Trademart that had a steady stream of visitors was the one reserved for Bass Pecan Company, which is headquartered in Lumberton and has stores there and in Jackson and Natchez.
“(Wednesday) afternoon was a lot busier than last year,” said Bass director of marketing Blake Travis. “I kind of thought it would be lower. Business after hours was definitely a lot bigger. A lot more people were there.”
Bass does a brisk business when it comes to corporate events, in the form of gift baskets, which are extremely popular at Christmas.
“I think we’ve made a lot of good corporate contacts,” Travis said.
Corporate Apparel and Promotion had a nice display of golf shirts, jackets and other items that the Brandon-based business could apply corporate logos and other insignia to.
“I think the traffic is the same, maybe down 10 percent, but for us the quality of traffic is better,” said Chuck Souther, the company’s owner. “It seems as good as last year with the quality of the (contacts) being better. This is a good deal, $750 (for the booth space). It’s great exposure. I know we’re pleased. We’ll be here next year.”
Contact MBJ staff writer Clay Chandler at clay.chandler@ msbusiness.com .