LOS ANGELES–The Foundation for Economic Development of California (FED), a contractor for the California Trade Office (CATO), hosted its second social event, the Marani Vodka and Cigar Night East, on Tuesday, June 12 at Pasadena’s famous Esquire Bar & Lounge. In attendance of the social-business mixer were representatives from various industries in addition to members of the Armenian Assembly, Armenian National Committee and representatives from The Republic of Armenia Consulate Generals Office.
This mixer was organized by the FED in order to enhance networking among various industries in Southern California. “This is a great chance for business people to socialize and get to know each other. Social business mixers such as this one allow people to get to know what CATO and the FED are all about and what we’re trying to accomplish on a social basis, which is to strengthen economic ties between the great state of California and the Caucus region of the world,” said FED Executive Director and CATO International Trade Specialist Johnny Nalbandian.
Those who attended the event enjoyed a gourmet California style buffet with several original dishes including fresh salmon wrapped in grape leaves. The night was also enhanced by a strolling guitarist who played flamenco music throughout the evening.
Guests also enjoyed a martini bar stocked with Marani vodka, one of the FED’s corporate sponsors. Marani is a spirits producer whose vodka is made in Armenia and is enriched with organic Armenian honey. Their products can be purchased in over 1,000 stores nation-wide such as Safeway’s Vons/Pavilions supermarket chain and will soon be available at establishmen’s such as Ralph’s Markets and California Pizza Kitchen Restauran’s.
Similar to the Marani Vodka and Cigar Night West, another co-sponsor of the event was Forbidden Johnny, a new XX-Calvados apple brandy with a uniquely designed bottle that holds a cigar inside. A glassful of this brandy and fresh rolled handmade cigars were made available to the guests throughout the evening by Old Oaks Cigar & Liquor of Thousand Oaks, who carries this famous brandy among others on its shelves.
Nic Nak Clothing, another California based company, sponsored the remaining portion of the FED’s budget for the event in honor of their first shipment of their new children’s line of high end trendy knitwear, produced and hand-knitted in Armenia. The company was, in fact, so pleased with its relationship with CATO, that Jamie Nakkashian, the designer of this new apparel said, “The California Trade Office has done an awesome job helping our company with this transaction and production.”
FED board members also held a raffle at the event that included sponsored prizes and gifts from various members of the California business community. Raffle gift sponsors included Marani Spirits, Forbidden Johnny, Sun Plastics, Esquire Bar & Lounge, Nic Nak Clothing, Alunna Optical, Old Oaks Cigar & Liquor and J III & Compay Personal Training.
A great success as over eighty different businesspeople of both Armenian descent and other ethnic backgrounds attended. Several business owners, corporate executives, professionals and investors were able to socialize with one another and exchanged business cards. “We will be organizing more events from time to time to try to bring business people together, both from the Armenian-American community and others as well,” said Nalbandian. “It is one of our goals to get other ethnic communities beyond Armenian-Americans interested in the FED’s work with CATO.”
Although the FED does not have any future social-business mixers planned at this time, they are eager to host a business town hall meeting in the fall with the Armenian Consulate Generals Office, Armenian American Chamber of Commerce and California Trade Office. The focal point of this town hall meeting will be trade and the importing and exporting of several different products. This same group of agencies is also planning a three-day trade expo and conference that will take place in the spring. The dates for these events will be announced at a further date.