Smaller Businesses Returning to Trade Shows

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 30, 2011 | Go to article overview

Smaller Businesses Returning to Trade Shows


With economic recovery still spotty amid concerns that it won't take much for a second dip, conventional wisdom would indicate that exhibiting at trade shows isn't on the smaller business radar.

Conventional wisdom could be wrong:

*The Midwest Furniture Show, a 5-year-old self-created expo put together by the Midwest Furniture Club, Northbrook, expects to draw 800 retailers to its late June show at the Schaumburg Convention Center.

Independent reps for furniture manufacturers are the exhibitors; about 75 of them are expected to show their manufacturers' wares to independent furniture retailers from throughout the Midwest.

*Activity at Tradetec Skyline, a Lombard trade show exhibit and support company, plummeted "40 percent off the top line, which is 60 percent off the bottom line" as the trade show sector shriveled in 2009, according to CEO Ken Buckman.

However, business roared back by 50 percent last year and is on pace to do the same this year as exhibitors return to the trade show floor, Buckman says. Interestingly, he adds, "The people investing in trade shows (at Tradetec Skyline) are not the giants but companies with sales between $20 million and $75 million."

It's not all that unusual for Buckman to see companies with annual sales in the $4 million-$6 million range exhibiting.

There is no debating that trade shows can cost real money:You have to rent booth space; buy or, preferably, rent a booth; send at least two and probably three people to staff the exhibit and talk to trade show delegates; and do some pre- and post-show marketing. …

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