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V.I. Businesses Take Center Stage at EXPO 2006

Oct. 6, 2006 – From the oldest to the newest, V.I. businesses and organizations were out in force Friday night for the opening of EXPO 2006 at UVI's Sports and Fitness Center.
The three-day event, hosted by the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce, is a chance for area vendors to highlight the their wares. Joe Aubain, executive director of the chamber, said he was impressed by both the professionalism of the displays and the wide "array of products and services" being offered.
Lingerie store I. Levin was represented by Katina Coulianos. Founded in 1875 by Coulianos' great grandfather, Israel Levin, the store originally sold dry goods. Several permutations later, the store today offers fine lingerie to St. Thomas women and visitors.
One of the latest arrivals to the V.I. business community was Eyeglass Express, which opened two months ago at Vitraco Mall. And the store does exactly what the name suggests: provides eye wear sometimes in as little as one hour.
In between, were 38 other businesses — ranging from banks and communications companies to florists, pet care services, Realtors and home furnishings stores — displaying their goods and services. Demonstrations, and even some door prizes, were available to any and all of the residents that wandered through the 6,500 square feet of displays.
The EXPO gives businesses and organizations the opportunity to introduce themselves to the community in one condensed area and time frame.
The value was made obvious as a local resident approached Coulianos, who was surrounded by name-brand lingerie and sleep wear, to ask where her store was located. After 131 years, there was at least one person who didn't know about the shop before Friday night.
One of the EXPO's biggest draws is always the animals. Sadly, the usual array of cats and dogs offered for adoption by the Humane Society of St. Thomas wasn't to be seen Friday.
However, volunteers manning the booth promised the live animals would put in an appearance Saturday. Humane Society volunteer Ginger Martin also explained the presence of a yellow-and-red "Cat Caf

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