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With the abundance of natural stone resources (and stone-working companies) in the state of Espirito Santo, Brazil, it makes sense to have a trade show in the region. And for its first 14 editions, the International Fair of Marble and Granite took place in the relatively rural locale of Cachoeiro de Itapemirim. Last year, this show took a major step when it moved to Vitoria, Espirito Santo's state capital. This initiative made the show an international force, and it drew attendees from around the world. The most recent edition of this fair took place from February 10 to 13, 2004, and it continued on the success of last year's event. The show had a very international feel, and it was attended by many professionals from the U.S. market.
The show featured a total of 320 exhibitors, including stone suppliers from Brazil as well as international firms showcasing stone, setting and maintenance products and large-scale stoneworking machinery. The show had nearly 345,000 square feet of exhibition area, and it drew over 20,000 visitors. â€œFor the amount of visitors in this first day, I believe that business will surpass the last edition,â€ said Giorgio Zanet of the Italy-based stone supplier, Bruno Zanet.
Like many firms with stoneworking operations in the region, Bruno Zanet was able to showcase its factory during the exhibition. The company's new slab-processing facility is located a short drive from the fairgrounds, and visitors were given the opportunity to view the operation first-hand. (â€œItalian company begins slab production in Brazil, page 112.â€)
In fact, many visitors to the show were able to enhance their trip to Brazil by directly visiting the many factories located within driving distance of Vitoria. These factories are not only operated by Brazilian companies, but also European firms, including interests from Italy and Spain.
According to a presentation by the local government, the state of Espirito Santo is the largest exporter of marble and granite in Brazil. This report stated that last year's stone production in Espirito Santo reached 2.85 million tons of blocks and 270 million square feet of slabs. It also placed the 2003 export total at $225 million. In terms of size, the report estimates that there are 350 quarries in Espirito Santo, and the stone industry provides 25,000 jobs within the state.