Glendale: Armenian issues focus of forum

Armenian issues focus of forum

Glendale News Press, CA
Nov 9 2004

Better insight of business and cultural patterns will be the topic of
upcoming panel.

By Ryan Carter, News-Press and Leader

GLENDALE — Understanding business and other demographic patterns
among Armenians, so that cities, schools and corporations can more
efficiently cater to them, will be the focus of a forum Wednesday.

The forum, “Dynamics of the Armenian Community: Access to
Opportunities,” will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Nestlé
building, 800 N. Brand Blvd. The forum will include a panel of local
leaders, who will talk about census information, workforce
demographics and marketing initiatives that affect Armenian
businesses and consumers.

“There’s a lot of business here, and there’s a lot of people
wondering what the demographics of the [Armenian] population are and
what the business atmosphere is,” said Joe Dermenjian, president of
the Glendale-based Armenian-American Chamber of Commerce, which along
with the Krikorian Marketing Group has organized the forum. “With the
various speakers attending, we thought we could share all this
information with the public.”

The panelists will include Glendale Mayor Bob Yousefian; Greg
Krikorian, president of the Glendale Unified School District; and
Glendale Community College District Trustee Ara Najarian. Jerry Wong,
information service specialist for the U.S. Census, Los Angeles
Region, will also speak.

Krikorian said his message will touch on the district’s 29,000-strong
student population, 10,500 of whom are of Armenian decent.

“When you understand your student population, you can not only better
serve them, but also better understand the future of the community,”
he said.

But Krikorian, also the president of Krikorian Marketing Group, said
the significance of Glendale’s densely Armenian population goes
beyond the school district. Businesses are looking to target the
population as a market.

Even the knowledge of Armenian Christmas, which falls on Jan. 6, can
make a difference in marketing, sales campaigns and ultimately sales
receipts, Krikorian said. But even marketing is more complex than
first glance.

“The Armenian population is diverse,” he said. “Understanding it is
like understanding the Asian community, because it’s very diverse
within itself. In those cultures, you can’t target with one message.
You have Armenians from Iran, Russia, the Middle East, France,
America. You have multiple [Armenian] communities within the society
here — not just in Glendale.”

The event caters to business groups, consumers, school and municipal
leaders, but all are invited, Dermenjian said.

Krikorian said the knowledge of how that market works could be
invaluable — even profitable.

“If you look at the purchasing demographics in Glendale, it’s
tremendous,” Krikorian said, stressing the diversity within the
Armenian community. “If you look at how many home buyers and
customers of Armenian descent who have purchased homes, automobiles
and other retail in this community, you are talking hundred of
millions of dollars of not only revenue but tax dollars, which in
turn supports our police, fire and school districts.”