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Steel City Con promoter to sell pop culture show

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By Ron Daparma
Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008

It's not for lack of success that Dominic Alessandria has decided to sell his popular Steel City Con toy and pop culture convention business.

In fact, a relocation this year from the ExpoMart in Monroeville to a larger space at the Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena in Harmar helped to make the most recent event in late October one of the largest in the show's 19-year history, he said Wednesday.

The three-day show had more than 200 exhibitors displaying items at more than 500 tables -- about 100 more than recent shows at the smaller Monroeville site -- said Alessandria, who is seeking buyers.

He is the sole owner and promoter of the convention, which he runs two to three times each year through his company Orangestone Promotions Inc., based in Ross. He said the shows have attracted between 3,000 and 4,500 people each.

At the Harmar site, it has more than 90,000 square feet of space to display such items as new and vintage toys, comic books, sci-fi/horror toys, and television, movie and sports memorabilia. That's about three times the space it had at the ExpoMart.

"The show next year will celebrate its 20-year anniversary and is the largest of its kind in Pennsylvania and one of the top five shows in the country. But for personal reasons, I think it's time to move on," he said.

Alessandria, who once served as general manager for a major retail department store, said he has decided to pursue another opportunity in retailing that he declined to disclose.

Steel City Con is a profitable business, drawing revenue from gate receipts and fees charged to vendors for table space, he said, without disclosing specifics.

"The show is priced to sell quickly," Alessandria said. "Typically when a company sells a business the asking price is usually four to five times the annual revenue, but I'm only seeking a price equal to less than one year's revenue."

He declined to disclose an asking price. But more than 30 parties have already contacted him, Alessandria said.

"I think people will be interested," said Kelly Simon of Kelly Simon Promotions in Westmoreland County.

Simon produces a number of home, law enforcement and other trade shows at the Laurel Highlands Event Center at the Westmoreland Mall Annex at Westmoreland Mall.

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