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Monday, December 20, 1999


New swap meet
vendor plans
marketing push

Consolidated expects
to exceed $5 million
in revenue this year

By Treena Shapiro
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

Gov. Ben Cayetano and First Lady Vicky Cayetano went Christmas shopping at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet -- picking up a Cabbage Patch doll, sun dresses, and compact discs.

But yesterday's trip wasn't just a shopping expedition.

Consolidated Amusement had invited the governor to publicize changes in marketing the swap meet. Consolidated in October took over the management of the swap meet after the contract was put out to bid.

The previous vendor, Edward Medeiros, had complained he was ousted because he supported Linda Lingle, Cayetano's opponent in last year's election.

When asked about the management change, the governor said: "From what I've seen today the vendors are very relaxed, happy and doing good business."

The new marketing plan capitalizes on the company's entertainment expertise and is expected to draw in more tourists and local residents by advertising on television, in newspapers and on the Internet.

The governor expressed cautious optimism. "I think we're going to wait and see, but they've already told us they're going to bring in a million more than the other vendor. I think it's going to happen," Ben Cayetano said.

Consolidated expects to top $5 million in revenue, compared with $4 million brought in last year by Aloha Flea Market Inc., according to Consolidated spokesman and director John Donlin.

The company is off to a good start, meeting its 800-vendor goal twice in the last four Sundays, and has averaged 13-20 buyers per vendor in the same period. The national average is 10, Donlin said.

In addition, the company intends to increase attendance to 12,000 on Sundays and 7,500 on other days. "(Saturday) we did close to 15,000 buyers," Donlin said. "Maybe we should set tougher goals."

Consolidated's marketing plans includes spending $195,000 in advertising and promotion in its first year. A new swap meet logo -- featuring a sunset motif shopping bag -- was a key component to the marketing plan.

Local residents can expect to see the logo often, as it will be displayed in on-screen slides at Consolidated's 83 movie theaters; on the Internet at a planned swap meet Web site and America Online Inc.'s virtual shopping mall Digital City; on the stadium Jumbotron during sporting events; as well in newspapers and on cable television.

To make sure tourists see it too, Consolidated is working with V.I.P. Transportation to get advertising on buses, and to make the swap meet a tour destination. In addition, the company will take out ads in tourist publications, advertise in racks at the hotels and provide travel discounts to Aston Waikiki Hotel and Condominiums.

Consolidated also plans to draw people in with entertainment, talent shows, educational fairs and promotional giveaways. By May, all phases of the promotional campaign should be launched, Donlin said. "We've been working on it since our bid," he said.

The company also said yesterday that the swap meet, which usually operates on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, will be open all this week until Friday, Christmas Eve.



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