Monthly Archives: January 2010

Trade Shows 2010, Front-End & Loaded

It’s not too early to think about a U.S. stone-industry trade show this year – because they’ll soon be all done.

Owing to the delay of the next StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas until January 2011, the list of stone events for this year is down to three … and two of them will be over before Valentine’s Day.

Of the trio of 2010 shows, Surfaces rolls out in Las Vegas on Feb. 1. While the floor-centric event isn’t usually a large draw for stone shops, there may be some new interest because of fewer exhibit opportunities for the rest of the year.

Vendors may also keep close tabs on stone-industry attendance to prepare for 2011’s event. Since StonExpo and Surfaces will run concurrently in the same facility (Mandalay Bay) next year, exhibitors will be taking a look at possible crossover opportunities with the shows – and, conversely, be thinking if booths at two shows really would be better than one.

Surfaces is followed quickly – in the next week and in Las Vegas – by the International Countertop Expo, the first trade event from the reformulated International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA). Starting on Feb. 8, it’s a show that’s noted as inaugural, although it’s also gone through somewhat of a rebirth.

The ISFA – which had “Solid” before “Surface” in its name until late 2008 – used to run its own exhibition until the early 2000s, when it sold the show and its Solid Surface magazine to Cygnus Business Media. Despite the best efforts of some of its staff and a name change to Surface Fabrication, Cygnus’ corporate strategies drove both properties into the ground, with the show vanishing after its final appearance in Orlando, Fla., last March and the magazine ending publication last month.

With ICE, the event is back in the association’s hands, but there’s a difference; while a fair share of seminars and booth space are devoted to solid-surface materials, there’s an effort to include other hard countertop materials. That includes stone, and a number of stone-industry vendors are planting the flag – albeit with a smaller flag and pole, considering the intimate size of the show floor – to see what happens.

The same could be said for Coverings, which returns to its traditional Orlando base in late April after a disappointing event in Chicago last spring. Hitting the Windy City in the depths of the recession led to empty aisles and thousands of square feet of open space from no-show exhibitors, which makes Orlando 2010 an important test to see if Coverings can bounce back.

The event’s exhibitor list shows that many of the major stone players – machinery manufacturers and distributors included – plan to be there, although it’s nowhere as inclusive as, say, the Coverings of 2006. However, for everyone in the trade, it’s literally the last chance for this year; after Coverings closes on April 30, the next U.S. stone event is StonExpo in January 2011.

The front-end collision of shows will intensify in time and location next year. Surfaces and StonExpo will run literally side-by-side in January in Las Vegas, with ICE likely to occur in Sin City in the next month or so after that. Coverings then follows again in April … but in Los Angeles, putting all of 2011’s stone events not only west of the Mississippi River, but west of Arizona.

Emerson Schwartzkopf

You can read up-to-the-minute news on the dimensional-stone trade and search the archives at Stone Business Online, where you can also find this blog at the Main Menu by clicking the button marked, well, “Blogs.”

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