• Pet Expo draws thousands of vendors, huge crowds to central Florida


    ORLANDO, Fla. - From chickens in diapers to high-tech surveillance equipment, the Pet Expo at the Orange County Convention Center displays thousands of pet products to potential industry buyers.

    Central Florida is poised to cash in on the doggie athletic gear and fashion collars now that the expo just signed a five-year contract to keep bringing one of the industry's biggest shows back to town.

    Expo organizers have picked Orlando in the past but only on a year-to-year basis.

    Last year, about 1,000 vendors showed up and in 2014, it continues to grow.  Organizers had to open up another section because so many more people came, and they don't expect the growth to slow down.

    "We have about 6,000 buyers from all over the world," said one organizer.

    That doesn't include the thousands of vendors who come to showcase their products.

    Organizers estimate about $25 million are pumped into central Florida with each expo once you add up contracts with hotels and the money flowing into restaurants.

    That's why industry leaders say they'll be back again next year.

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