Vendors use Gulfport Music Festival as an advertising launch pad

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - For years, Terry Welch, of BBQ World in Gulfport, has been selling a lot of turkey legs and brisket at the Gulfport Music Festival. The businessman says by setting up a booth here, he is able to attract customers for the catering side of his operation.

"Every time I've been to the music festival I get great exposure," said Welch. "There's 20,000 plus people come here. People see my operation. They can look around, and they can pretty much tell I do vending and I do catering."

Kevin Wilson, of Smoke Screen LLC., sells electronic cigarettes at stores in Gulfport and in Gautier. He doesn't expect to do huge sales at the music festival, and that's okay. He says his focus is all about getting people to remember the name.

"That's the big thing. They see the name. You see our logo everywhere. They go home and they start looking on the Internet, and it gives us an opportunity to meet with people," said Wilson.

Vendors say getting to present their products to thousands of music fans is too good of an opportunity to pass up. This is especially true for small business owners with tight advertising budgets.

"It is very expensive, and for a small business owner, we're only open Monday through Friday for lunch in Mobile. To be able to get our name out there with something like this, it's extremely helpful. Advertising is super expensive," said Marshall Barstow, of Mama's on Dauphin.

"Used car men say if you can get them in a seat driving, you've got a good shot at it. Well in this business, if I can get a taste of my food in their mouth, I've pretty well got them, especially my brisket. I get a lot of compliments on my briskets," said Welch.

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