Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Pat Kotnour, Jun 29, 2009.
I second what Pat Murphey said!
I agree. They couldn't find a way to work together on the shows, so now all of them are struggling.
Also, Decor Magazine is just a joke of a publication now, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them stop publication any time.
I'm from the east coast.
As much as I don't like Vegas for what it is, the flights and hotels are very reasonable. (much cheaper (safer?) than going to Atlanta or NYC)
Orlando is another great destination, with plenty of other things to do at night.
See you at WCAF
Another option (and we discussed this before till "somebody" put a damper on it....) is Myrtle Beach S.C.
Where is Jeff.....??
I find the canceling of the Atlanta show very depressing. I would attend an East coast or Midwest show. But even if you change the location why would the vendors decide to go to a new city? I guess I'll go to Vegas anyway. The future is dark.
I 2nd this.
That is another good option.
They also have a convention center and they are doing everything they can to attract this type of thing.
The airport is not congested and has inexpensive flights.
More hotel rooms than you could image in every price range under the sun.
I believe there are two other factors in the decline of the trade shows.
1. The aging of the framing population. Not in chronological years, but in number of years in business. In the 80s when many of us started, we needed tools, displays, corner samples, ideas! The first trade show I attended was in the ballroom of the Penta Hotel. Just a ballroom, folks! And I felt like I had walked into FAO Schwartz at Christmas time! There were tons of tools and vendors I had never heard of... new ideas, demos, great show specials. This show grew and grew, and I never would have thought of missing a New York show. But after a while, I already had the tools, I already saw the reps, I didn't need to buy more and more stuff... I mean, how many underpinners does a shop buy in its lifetime? Fifteen years into trade shows I mainly went to NY to eat in delis, see a few shows, and -oh yes- spend a short time at the show to see what was new... which wasn't much after I had been in business for 15 years.
2. Online framing exchanges. I can remember lugging a moulding sample from booth to booth trying to figure out who made it so I could help out a customer. Now I just post it here and get the vendor AND their phone number! And I here can tell stories every day to other framers about Mrs Gotrocks and her bizarre request and find a sympathetic ear, something that used to happen only at shows.
To quote a great philosopher: The times they are a'changin'....
It's not all doom & gloom
That's like saying all framers are in trouble because they couldn't find a way to work together. We're talking about competitors. Probably neither PFM nor Decor would want to bury the other, just as most framers would not want to bury competing framers, but why would you think they should work together?
WCAF is the only for-profit trade show remaining. It has grown significantly every year except this year, and that was during the American economic "meltdown" in January. Nobody can say what might happen at WCAF next January, but I'm optimistic.
The PPFA Convention also has grown in recent years. It was down some this year, but it was much better than the framing industry was, at the time.
The bad economy and the internet are the two biggest factors in the decline of the trade shows. IMO
Like Jay said, you can easy spend over a thousand dollars to travel to a show, or you can sit in front of your computer and find articles and pictures of any framing gadget you can think of.
The classes at shows are nice, but obviously they are not a big enough draw for people to go to the show, just to take a class.
Also, I don't agree it's our fault that the Atlanta show died, the promoters have to come up with a compelling reason for framers to attend.
Unfortunately for me, I have no desire to go to Las Vegas, so I'm out of the going to a framing show for a while.
Maybe the question I should have asked was; what elements to a trade show would tear you away from your computer to attend? More art? More education? More deals? Vacation type location? What would it take to get you to go to a show?
Has to be close enough that I can get there and back quickly.
That would minimize the number of days that the store is closed.
In reality, the only years I have went was when I needed to make a major equipment purchase. Classes were just icing on the cake.
Opinions here certainly are diverse, aren't they? Consider that all of the failed framing trade shows were mostly about exhibitors, and education was secondary.
On the other hand, both of the remaining annual framing events have always placed heavy emphasis on education. The organizers of both, WCAF/National Conference (for profit) and the PPFA Convention (not for profit), say the framing & business education they offer has been important to their success.
Sure, exhibitors are vital to most shows, and framers appreciate those who bring new products and services. Most framers do not go "just to take a class", but in some cases, education is their main interest. Most attendees take multiple classes, which may turn out to be very important in operating a profitable business.
Attending a class is not a matter of entertainment, or simply learning a new trick or two. Classes these days can enable framers to expand their capabilities, adapt to changing markets, and actually help to save their framing businesses.
So yes, classes are a big enough draw for people to go to the show.
I missed out on the WCAF last year and I'm not going to let that happen again.
Aside from the education, I have found it invaluable from a networking standpoint. I have called on people I have met at both shows, WCAF and PPFA, and tried to maintain that contact. It is so incredibly valuable; every person I have contacted, Bob Carter, John Ranes, Stuart Altschuler, etc., have been nothing but gracious and giving of their time. I can only hope to repay all of the information my colleagues from across the country have provided to me.
That in itself is why I attend.
St Louis or Chicago are both relativly cheap to fly into, hotels rates aren't too bad and centrally located!
Jay-Perhaps I simplified my response. Not condemning framers for not supporting the shows as being their fault, but more to the economic reality of if there are no framers attending, there will be no vendors and then, no show
Lots of mitigating components, but the numbers just aren't there
Perhaps as useful an exercise (beyond location) might be along the lines of what will make you attend the shows. Most numbers i've seen reflect that only about 20% of framers actually do go (and support) these shows
This sucks! Can't believe they cancelled the show. Two hotel rooms are already paid for. And that will put a serious hurt on some of my purchasing plans, as I buy thousands each year from the show. I also like the gift mart, and I buy there as well, but it's not a big enough reason to go all by itself.
agree it sucks..we go and buy plenty at both the show and the gift mart..we will go to th gift mart as always..as well as some smaller shows like Orlando furniyutr show, etc.
I have to agree with Jerry's comment. I know of so many people from my area who go to market but do not have a business. They are getting in as "buyers" for a bogus business. It infuriates me when I hear Sally Shopper say she is going to Market for Cash and Carry or to shop for herself. High minimums prevent some of the purchasing, but there are many vendors with low minimums or no minimum. How can I sell gift items in my shop for a profit when she can go herself and buy at wholesale price!
Not strict enough! I personally do not want Sally Shopper to be allowed to attend a trade show for my framing business. Market organizers, directors, or whomever need to re-evaluate the requirements and enforce them. It is definitely out of hand. Maybe this is another area where leniency brings more dollars???
Thanks, I feel better now------had to vent on that subject.
Sister it appears is making reference to the Gift Shows... not the Framing Shows.
In the gift market, shows still vary dramatically in size and region. Are you referring to the major gift markets like Atlanta, New York, Chicago? or are you making reference to the more regional shows? Even the major markets have "Cash & Carry Days" in the Autumn to sell out exisiting showroom samples.
But I agree with the comments on credentials being adequate at these shows, where resale certificates, business licenses, business cards and other proof is required (typically three key forms). Granted, Interior Designers often will bring in "Client Guests" to some showrooms but often there is a fee associated as well to legitimize these actions.
From an analytical viewpoint, I thought this posting was most interesting...
Interesting because.... For the most part, folks writing orders at framing shows was a 1980's sort of thing...taking advantage of extra discounts, free freight and other show promotions. In the declining trade show era, Framing shows have succeeded in large part, because of the Educational and Socialization elements.
Gift shows on the other hand require the buyers to touch and feel the new products and see the trends, much like Art shows.
As an attendee in 2009, I find it much more imparative to attend a Gift Show every year, where I feel that I could get by visiting a major Framing Show perhaps every two or three years.
Atlanta Show priced itself out of the game
We have been attending trade shows as a vendor for as long as there were shows. What killed the Atlanta show is greed and avarice on part of the organizers. The show organizers have managed to kill it all by themselves. $5000.00 for a 10 by 10 booth and we have to pay for each chair (2 free) and pay for a garbage can. The cost of doing the show as a vendor has gone into outer space. The management also made it a habit to inflate attendance numbers in order to attract vendors at these exorbitant rates. I mean really, if you were at the last Atlanta show we exhibited at they claim I believe 8,000 attendees. I may have been born at night but not last night. The best attendance from shows that tell the truth may be as high as 1200.
Some good may come from this. Perhaps a new show will take its place. Some hopefully less greedy manager may use a less expensive and smaller venue and bring the shows back to the type we all remember when it did not cost $75,000 to exhibit. We all do not have budgets like Larson.
I hope the time of small regional inexpensive shows has arrived.
This is true, and a great suggestion. I believe the DonMar show is September 27th in Marlboro, MA. Last year was the largest yet, and had great food.(included) Many vendors were set up including CMC, lamination, POS, Matboard companies, glazing, moulding companies, etc. There were several classes, guest speakers, promotions, etc.
For those on the east coast, in DonMar's territory, this is one to consider.
As someone who just came back from 3 days in Chicago at the gift show, I fully agree with John. I found more there that will bring income and customers in to my store than I would have at a framing show. Not that the framing shows are bad, it's just that there has not been too much innovation from our suppliers and those that have usually will bring it to my store for me to see.
Peter, I feel that your comments may not be fair to Decor, I realize that the costs for the shows has gone up and it seems like they are nickle and diming you to death for garbage cans ect. but, realize that these convention centers across the country do this to the organizers. If Decor charges you for a garbage can it's because the convention center charges them for the garbage can, it's not Decor being greedy. Last year I did a local show at a convention center and they charged you for a 10 x 10 slab of cement and everything after that was a la carte, even the drapes/curtains between the booths (and the garbage can).
I have owned firms that exhibited in big halls
The fees are outrageous
Want horror stories?
Exhibit in a "union" location like Chicago
Not only can you not assenble your own exhibit, you can not even replace a light bulb in your display. Has to be a union electrician. You want drapes-a fee, table, chairs-a fee, trash can-fee, want that can emptied-fee
Drayage and delivering exhibit to booth? Union-amazingly, always delivered after 5pm (overtime). Not there to see it so who knows
Plenty of greed-just look at the price of a hot dog
I'm pretty sure there are many vendors who will disagree with this comment. Writing orders at a trade show is the one thing that makes it worth the money to be there. You not only can show new products, but you can write orders and sell out of the booth as well.
In light of what has happened with Atlanta there is one thing that has become profoundly clear about trade shows......to be successful they need the support of the vendors and a good educational program as well. The two combined are what seems to give the buyers a reason to come.
The WCAF is the best deal in town when it comes to expense of the show. Hopefully someone will do something similar on the east coast.
Unions have been the downfall of most manufacturing and services in this country....look at the auto industry..I had friends who worked in the plants and called in sick almost every Mon or Fri so they take a long weekend with absolutely no reprecussions because thier attitude was " they can't fire me because I'm protected by the union"..no wonder the workmanship was #### and the cost of manufacturing was so out of wack..... At a Corp where I was an executive I typed a letter one night at the office because it had to be out immediately...the company ended up paying a big fine because I "took away a union secretaries job" by not calling one in to type a short letter and pay overtime to her for doing so...don't even get me started on "unions".
Plenty of greed-just look at the price of a hot dog[/QUOTE]
Not just any hot dog, but a trade show hot dog. Four days of sitting in a steam bath, waiting to be slammed into a week-old bun, by a friendly/interested-in-your-life server. The trade show dog was always the choice after day one...because the tuna salad went bad after the first day...didn't mean it wasn't still for sale until the end of the show.
How can you say that this unique culinary experience (slimmy) was over priced at $7.50? There is a tv show that has a guy traveling the world looking for things to eat...bugs, goat (raw), snakes, a variety of organs from various animals, etc. The episode last night featured raw chopped goat, which looked better than the trade show dog. The hoast ate the goat...would he eat the trade show dog?
Funny how lack of competition drives prices.
I'm just wondering why vendors (even strict competitors) don't team together to rent a hotel ballroom, and do things that way. It'll cost 1/10th the price at the most, and you can choose to participate in a number of them in your strongest regions.
(btw - hi, from next door to your brother's store in VA!)
William-Those barely edible hot dogs only made our dinners together at The Steakhouse all that much more enjoyable. i do believe that the time spent in those restaurants speaking with som eof the great leaders of the industry was the real prize for attending any trade show
I always left plenty of time on my dance card to visit with individual framers to learn just how smart and creative so many of our brethren are; lunches, breakfasts, time between classes...find me and we'll talk a little biz. i always learn so much more than they get from me
That is the real loss of losing a trade show
I co-own a company that rents an entire Atl.mart showroom,for 12 months straight(10 years now)...EEEEKKKKKK!
Yes, I was referring to the Atlanta Gift Market. The credentials would be adequate if they were checked on each visit to the shows. Since I am in the system, all I have to show is a business card and credit card with my name (not necessarily my business name). Business cards are easy to make; I do know that some of the people have old resale certificates and have not been in business in years--more of a local pet peeve with me.
Back to the importance of our framing shows!!!
I can't tell you how important trade shows are to my company. It is a travesty that the Decor shows have fallen by the wayside. If I did a survey I would bet that 75 to 80% of my customer base has come from the exposure of a trade show. Word of mouth is still one of the best forms of advertising...all you have to do is look at the comments made here on the G to see that.
Although magazine ads are also a good way to reach the market, it is nothing in comparison to seeing the products demonstrated in person. Many people will not purchase a product unless they have seen it for themselves and know that it is somehting that will bring them a return on their investment. Peter is right about his statements....greed is playing a big part in the industry's downfall and I think its high time we take it back. I love the idea of a vendor owned road show.
Can favorable arrangements be made if smaller venues are approached? Smaller cities, smaller facilities, places eager to make a few concessions in exchange for the opportunity to make a fair amount of revenue?
Pat - Atlanta was how I found you - I will miss the show - Vegas is not an option
HOT DOG???? You mean there is a choice beside the dry torched/tortured chicken thing at WCAF? [which I love the "3 lunch" thing which is a $6.50 chit for a $10 sandwich(?), $4 soda & $3 bag of chips. "Bend over please while we run this Union Shaft home']
Have you ever noticed that there is NEVER a McDonald/Denny's within two blocks of anywhere a convention is???
That is the main thing I will be loving in Anaheim..... choices.
BTW: Hilton is willing to rent me their entire conference center in Maui for $2K a day...... any vendors want to do a table top??
Count me in if it is any time from Feb 10 to Apr. 1. I need a vacation and I love HI.
Hey Pat, I don't know if you have a relationship with Gemini or not but they are having a mini show in September that I plan on attending because it looks fun and informative.
I think you have to be invited to show at the Gemini show. Maybe some day they will invite me.
"Can favorable arrangements be made if smaller venues are approached? Smaller cities, smaller facilities, places eager to make a few concessions in exchange for the opportunity to make a fair amount of revenue?"
I agree with Amy's above comment. I'm a small town, small store owner - the time and costs involved plus paying for extra store coverage, especially in these economic times, just don't bode well for expensive traveling. A smaller show in an area closer to me (I'm in the middle of the country - Kansas) would certainly attract my attention quicker than any show in Vegas (no desire whatsoever to go there), NY, NC/SC, FL. If there were a show in St. Louis, Milwaukee, Denver, Dallas, etc., I'd probably go. For sure if it were Kansas City! And I would think the vendor expenses would be so much less; and they'd probably get as much traffic as it sounded like they got at the last Atlanta Decor show. And I would think the same would apply to frames in the NW, NE, etc.
Ditto, Janis...from your neighbor to the North
Did someone mention a Chicago show?
Maybe all the chapters of PPFA from the midwest to the east coast should get together and have one big joint meeting that would include a table top show.
I am afraid the day of the big show has gone. We will use the money saved to try other advertising methods and pass the savings of not doing the big shows on to our most valuable asset, You.
The only problem with not having shows is some products that require hands on demos. These products will suffer. It is a shame.
"Imitation is the best form of flattery"
"Do not go gentle into that good night."
"I have spent most of my inheritance on booze, women and gambling. The rest I spent frivolously."
"Everything I do is either illegal, immoral, or fattening."
I hate to hear that the show has been cancelled. I was looking forward to returning to the "old" format of having this show in conjunction with the Home and Gourmet Food show. I'd already made my accomidations, so I still may attend for the Gift show for last minute additions to the gift lines...
FYI, the PPFA Midwest Chapter will be having a TableTop Show in St. Louis (Chesterfield--convenient to the airport) on Sept. 27th. We usually have apprx 20 vendors, but we have room for more, if anyone is interested in exhibiting. Last year we had about 60 framers in attendance, and I am hoping this year we have more.
PreRegistration is FREE for attendees, including classes....and we have yummy spread of complimentary snacks.
We'll be offering 3 classes during the afternoon, as well as our Open and Print Competitions along with a Logo Design Competition.
As Tom noted, St. Louis is very easy to fly in and out of, and centrally located.
You may contact me for more information if you are interested in exhibing or attending.
Is Atlanta canceled? If so, they didn't announce it on their own website: www.decor-expo.com
I'm sorry to hear that, Peter. At the last WCAF Jeff was trying to get a look at certain hardware items, but none of the big hardware suppliers exhibited. He did buy a great new pin gun though.
I got the cancellation notice by email from Decor several days ago (or was it last week?)
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