Friday, March 5, 2010

The Slow Death of Regional Shows

I used to love regional shows, The Charlotte Show, The Texas Shows, Gutenberg, and the only one left—Miami. They are generally more relaxed than the cauldron of McCormick Place or The On Demand show. Setup and break down was certainly easier. I miss swimming in the pool at the hotel at Gutenberg and the Cajun food at the Charlotte and Texas shows.

Why did they die? The answer is a chicken and egg problem. Low turnout caused less exhibitors to show their wares but which came first? I remember visiting customers in southern California and attempting to get them down to the show. Few did. I venture to guess that the closer a bindery or printer’s facility was to the show site, the less likely they would show up.

The few customers who attended this year’s Graphics of the America’s show in Miami said that it was dead. One machinery dealer I know said that it was fair. Our company used to exhibit there every year. Then we dropped years when we attended DRUPA. Now we’re down to every other year. Last year we didn’t do enough business to find it worthwhile.

Another dealer I know recommended that the show move to Orlando. Orlando has a bigger print industry than Miami. Miami, of course, draws many printers from south of the border. But how serious are they? Often I have felt that our cousins to the south use this show as an excuse to visit friends and relatives, and then think about going to the show.

Perhaps the best solution would be to rotate the show every other year between Orlando and Miami. Then printers could bring their families to Disney World or Universal, and attend the show for a day or two. Then after I sell all the machines in my booth I can declare; “I’m going to Disney World!” Food for thought.

Since this original post, Graphics of the Americas has chosed to hold their 2011 show in Orlando. Hooray for our side!

1 comment:

  1. Ok... I used to know a lot about the pre-press and printing industries, and now I know a little. Regardless, I find it pretty frickin' amazing that these traditional trade shows are still going on at all. In this day and age of glabilzation even the trade shows which I attended lately for less traditional (i.e. Internet-related) business, from a strict sales and lead-gen aspects the price we paid for the show was never worth it.
    I also admit that even in the heyday of these trade shows, I never did get it... I always thought that one would always want to separate business from pleasure. I guess that this is me thinking as a hired employee rather than a self-employed one. But on those rare occasions where I did drag my wife with me, I remember always feeling torn between my commitment to my job and my desire to spend time with her. And then something would always come up, which would require a last minute change of plan, and since I was traveling on my employer's dime, I certainly could not say no. So there was not even the post-show quality time.
    Certainly a refreshing p.o.v. which you are presenting here