The countdown is on. We all know what it means
when the ball drops in Times Square – trade show
season is upon us.
Every year, we wait with bated breath to tally up
the fourth-quarter sales, finish the spreadsheet
for the year and look to the calendar to start
booking travel. Whether you love them or dread
them, trade shows are an unavoidable part of the
They are where we not only map out the season’s
inventory, but where we can also visualize new
trends, recharge by connecting with fellow retailers,
and find face-time with vendors who might otherwise never know our name.
“The basic reason for a trade show to exist is to
provide a compact, functional, easily accessible
view of an entire marketplace,” explains Perry
Reynolds, International Housewares Association
Vice President, Marketing & Trade Development.
“The more the marketplace represents the needs
of the buyers that attend, the more successful it
will be for them. I think the strategic decision on
which markets to attend is to understand what the
strategic vision for your business is.”
Every market provides a slightly different represen-
of Trade Shows
tation of the business. As you can see from our map on page 8, there
are plenty of places to travel to this quarter from as far away as
Frankfurt, Germany, to as accessible as Chicago. Since you’re reading
this, one would assume you are in the gourmet food and kitchenware
business – and that map is proof that there are several markets you
might want to attend in the coming months.
Proof is in the Planning – or Not
Reynolds explains the importance of mapping out a plan well in advance
of the show itself.
“Each retailer needs to assess where they are in their strategic business
plan. Are the categories holding their own? Is the product selection
meaningful? Do I have the right mix in kitchen tools and gadgets?” he
begins. “You have to analyze business and find out what’s hot, and find
products to feed into that trend. But it’s also important to find [out]
what areas are not doing well, and retailers should challenge themselves
and [their] suppliers to help solve that problem.”
Renee Behnke, president emeritus of Sur la Table, has spent more than
a decade – and still does – searching out the best products for her chain
of gourmet kitchenware stores. Trade shows remain a critical part of the
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Doing business at the Show.
Dallas Market Center offers a
Market Fast Pass. Call 800-325-6587
with your e-mail then just wait for
your Market Fast Pass to arrive via
e-mail. They also provide a lounge area
for DMC buyers with free business
service. Complimentary shuttle service
operates from 6:30am-7pm each day
of market and follows the train schedule. For TRE schedule information and
fares, call 877-657-0146 or visit their
Web site at www.dart.org.
The Winter Fancy Food Show
features Business Builders 1-to- 1.
Retail and foodservice buyers and
distributors can make efficient use
of their time with this free “
matchmaking” program that pairs them with
exhibitors for one-on-one meetings.
You simply let the show organizers
know what top product categories you
are looking for, and you will receive a
schedule of 17 ten minute meetings
with each participating exhibitor.
Contact Lisa Werner at lwerner@
While free parking is available during
Americasmart’s Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings
Market, it’s limited. One of the best
things about getting to the market in
Atlanta is Atlanta’s rapid rail system.
MARTA takes you from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport directly
to Peachtree Center Station/AMERI-CASMART ATLANTA, as well as to
many hotels and attractions throughout the city. Buy a visitor’s pass for
unlimited rides in advance by calling
MARTA at 404-848-5501.