Ottawa
3 min

Community connections

LGX links people with businesses and organizations

BACK AGAIN. Kim Meechan (L) and her wife Sharman Potechin, co-owners of Out Stuff first attended LGX five years ago. Credit: Shawn Scallen

LGX, Capital Xtra’s annual lesbian and gay expo, is on again this month, holding steady as one of the community’s biggest annual events.



“And we’ve expanded again,” says Capital Xtra’s Kerry Beckett

of the trade show that ushers 1,200 people through its doors each year. “For people who want to do business with our community, this is a great way to do it.”



LGX takes place at the Jack Purcell Community Centre on Sat, Apr 24 from 10am to 4:30pm. Admission is free.



This year’s expo will feature nearly 75 exhibitors. Community members will see the usual suspects, including Bytowne Theatre, Bruce House and Egale Canada.

A host of retailers, festivals, community groups and university GLBT centres will also host tables.



But for some loyal exhibitors, LGX is more than just a show.

To Kim Meechan, co-owner of Out Stuff, LGX marks her business’ anniversary.



“That was our debut,” she explains of the first LGX she and her partner attended five years ago. “That was a big thrill.

Most small businesses don’t hang around very long.”



The home and web-based business sells jewelry, clothing, stickers and “a lot of rainbow stuff” through their website and by renting tables during Pride, Women’s Voices and LGX. This year Out Stuff will be touting a new line of Rosie The Riveter products, but Meechan says LGX is not just about “flogging your wares.”



“It’s a two-way street,” she says. “It’s for the community to meet the business owners, and for the businesses to meet the community. People now know where to find us.”



While retailers have a strong presence at the show, Beckett says the variety of businesses is large and includes everyone from sex therapists to realtors.



“It’s good especially for people who are doing business with your money or your body,” explains Beckett, adding that a lot can be gained from being able to “put

a name to the face.”



Exhibitors also get their names published in an ad in Capital Xtra, which community members can cut out and paste to their fridge for future reference – a service that massage therapist Karen Munro-Caple finds valuable.



“It puts my profile out there,” says the Body-Mind Continuum therapist. “LGX gives me an opportunity to do actual hands-on demonstrations. [People can] see what I actually do.”



Munro-Caple will be offering 15-minute “mini massages” for anyone who’s interested. Between demos, she will also tell the community that her practice is moving to Nepean St this spring. But mainly, she’s in it for the fun.



“It’s just a blast to see everybody, see what’s out there business-wise,” she adds. “I just love the interaction, the connections.”



Large businesses also profit from LGX, explains Beckett. “If you want to know what’s going on in the gay community – how to do business with the community – this is the place to be.”



Evan Weiner, senior mortgage specialist at Metro City Mortgages Inc says LGX has been good for business.



“They’re wonderful people. They’re like a mortgage broker’s dream,” he says of the community. “I’ve received a lot of good referrals from them.”



Weiner’s firm is only one of 85 or 90 franchises across the country and he says they are “well-known,” but they’ve been coming to LGX for five years.



“It’s worked out very well for us. Wonderful contacts. It’s like a reunion. Our clientele has got just about everybody, though a significant portion is from the gay and lesbian community.”



This year, Weiner will be bringing a couple of junior specialists with him to meet the crowd.



“I thought it would be an excellent opportunity for them to get out there,” he says. “I get some new business from it. I go there

to reemphasize my involvement.

I like being there, and I like being there to offer our services.”



Investor’s Group financial

consultant Michael Bellefeuille expects this year’s LGX to be an exciting one.



“With some of the changes in legislation, there’s starting to be more options out there,” says Bellefeuille. “In financial services, there’s a lot of differences between what traditionally people did and what same-sex couples can now do, with couples getting married and being able to plan things together and know that it’s legal. Now they have the same rights.”



Bellefeuille, who will be there with business partners Bill Hawke and Diane Harras, says his focus is just to talk to the community and let them know they’re there for them. “We’re just looking forward to it. We always do.”



* To be an exhibitor or sponsor, contact Marshall Rowat at 237-7133, ext 27.



LGX 2004.

10am–4:30pm.

Sat, Apr 24.

Jack Purcell Community Centre.

Admission: Free.

Info: 237-7133.