"We're talking about people bringing a few cases in in suitcases," he said at his stand at the Made in the USA show. "We couldn't do anything to support them because of the sanctions."
But now, like the many black cosmetic firms at the show, Luster is planning on getting into South Africa in a big way.
"We see this as potentially our second largest market behind the United States," Mr. Mayor said. "We're not sure exactly what direction to take, a local distributor, a licensing arrangement, or getting into our own manufacturing plant, but we're going to be here."
The thirst of the crowds was evident.
Mr. Mayor said he was almost besieged by people who had used his products and wanted to get them again. Chip Conrad, at the booth of his family-run hydraulic seals company in York, Pa., said that all sorts of people just want to get his products and sell them.
"We usually just deal with people in the hydraulic industry," Mr. Conrad said. "I've never seen anything like this."
James Douglas, who runs a computer consulting firm on Lombard Street in Baltimore, had a steady stream of people stopping by to talk about his services.
"They're going to need a lot of training here, especially in the area of computer literacy," he said.
The enthusiasm shows what probably will be the most important aspect of the end of sanctions -- the psychological uplift it will give the country when it's restored to the world community. While that might not attract money from overseas, it's something that could help convince nervous South Africans to invest their money here.