Archive for the ‘Tradeshows’ Category

By Jeff Pett, Fleetwood Group

As a manufacturer in the school furniture market, the NSSEA School Equipment Show is our biggest show each year.  We talk all year about what our plans are and what we are hoping to get out of it.  We have had a good show this year.

I think most people who are here would agree that the show seems to be smaller than last year’s show. It felt like the traffic in the aisles was way down, and the booth “footprint” felt smaller.  If you came here hoping to set up your booth and draw in new prospects, this had to have been a disappointing year.  None of that, of course, is not a good thing.  However, as a manufacturer of furniture that is too big and heavy to drag around the country showing off to your dealer-partners, we use this week to show new ideas and products while training new dealer sales people.  And this year was a bonus for us since we recently added two new sales team members, so they got to meet many of their key contacts this week.

Our top 30 dealers account for over 90 percent of our sales and most of them were here this year.  If you wandered by our booth you saw a very busy place most of the first two days.  Relationships were renewed or created, there was some “surprise and delight” new product ideas, and generally we had a great week.

One more thing that I found interesting was the number of people in the show hall “before hours.”  I don’t remember seeing so many groups taking advantage of that time for dedicated group meetings in their booths before.  And while there is some extra cost involved, it is a great way to have uninterrupted quality time with bigger groups of customers.

Hope you were in Phoenix this year, too, and that you had a great week, too!

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The School Equipment Show, which is less than a week away, is the place to be for suppliers, distributors, school planners and architects in the educational furniture, fixtures and equipment market! This year’s show, held November 17-19 at the Phoenix Convention Center, will include innovative products, engaging workshops and worthwhile networking opportunities. It is a show that can’t be missed. Will we see you in Phoenix next week?

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NSSEA is partnering with the Kids In Need Foundation (KINF) for the 2010 School Equipment Show next month in Phoenix, AZ. The Kids in Need Foundation supports a national network of 25 Resource Centers that benefit needy students by allowing teachers from low-income schools to “shop” for school supplies free of charge. Resource Center merchandise is provided by monetary and in-kind donations from generous businesses and individuals.

This year, the School Equipment Show donation will benefit Treasures 4 Teachers, located in Tempe, AZ. In July of 2010, a storm hit Tempe, AZ and left the center without a building or the supplies needed to continue its mission.

To participate, complete a Donation Form and email or fax it to Lesley Walton at 937.296.1215 by Friday, November 12.

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By Jeff Pett, Fleetwood Group

We are beginning to do the last-minute, mad-dash preparations for this year’s NSSEA School Equipment Show in Phoenix.  The planning for this event actually began for us the month after last year’s show.  We met with our whole sales team and talked through the 2009 show in terms of what we thought went well, what products showed well, and what we thought we should do differently the following year.

At that time we decided to commit to the same amount of floor space as we have for the past several years, and made some early decisions as to what we might want to show again in 2010 and what kinds of new products we might want to highlight.  Then we set that whole planning process aside for a few months.

In midsummer, we pulled out those early plans, dusted them off and started laying out our prospective booth and placing furniture in it.  In early September, I thought we were solid with the furniture we would show.  Then, when our sales team met later in September, we made some changes to show some new and different products.  The plan actually changed quite a bit!

The result is that this year, in addition to showing some old standby products that will have a “freshened” look, we will be showing several products we have never shown before.  We will even show a product category that we have been building for a few schools that people would not normally associate with Fleetwood Group furniture.

And that is part of the fun of this show!  Since over 30 percent of what we build each year falls into the category of “specials”, we are always creating ways to meet unique needs of our customers, so we always have something new to show.  All the manufacturers will be doing the same kinds of things, trying to show what they are capable of, and what kinds of creative solutions they have brought to market or are about to.  And, of course, relationships are renewed with old industry friends, and new ones are forged… a dynamic that is more important in this business than in any other I have been a part of.

Rumor has it that a number of manufacturers are sitting out the show this year, and many dealers are attending with fewer of their team members.  We are hopeful that people will rally around this show and make it a worthwhile event for all.  The event needs a certain critical mass to be viable, and even in tough times an event like this one is a kind of crossroads where commerce is centered, and being there is important in and of itself.  Like so many other things in life, this show is probably a “use it or lose it” event.  Let’s support it!

See you in Phoenix!

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Ed Expo Day 1

The Welcome Reception last night was a great start to the show.  Everyone was able to re-connect with friends and business associates.   I am sure there were new bonds made at the event!

The convention center was busy early this morning.  The free breakfast was a great way to connect again with your fellow NSSEA members.  The workshops were full with eager minds.

The exhibits opened this morning at 9AM sharp.  The attendees were lined up waiting to see all the new products.  There is an excitement in the air for the people walking the floor.  The new exhibitors that I can see from the membership booth on the floor seem to be getting a lot of attention!

Stop by the Membership Booth on the floor and sign up for the new NSSEA Network and get a free $5 Starbucks Gift Card!!!  (limited to the first 50)

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I just came back from walking the show floor.  The exhibitors are frantically working to have their exhibits ready for tomorrow morning.  It is amazing how you can go from a completely empty hall to show ready in just a couple of days!  The exhibits are shaping up to be full of great products and new ideas!  There are a number of first time exhibitors this year. Make sure you seek them out.

The attendees/dealers are starting to check in for the show.  They are getting ready for the education workshops that will be provided this afternoon. There are a variety of workshops this  year.  We have the bases covered.

The LEAD Welcome Reception is this evening.  This always proves to be a great networking kick off to the show!

Exhibits open tomorrow at 9:00AM!

Find me in Dallas and post your comments to the blog at the NSSEA Membership Booth #138.

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We are trying something new this year. We are going to be blogging from the show this year.  I will be working with other NSSEA personnel and getting other members to talk about the happenings at the show.

So to get the ball rolling, don’t forget to look at My Show Planner to see the show specials, the list of exhibitors, workshop information, and the floor plan of the show.  On the My Show Planner you can create a list of exhibitors that you want to visit and can sort your list by vendor name or booth number. 

Whether this is your first Ed Expo or your 24th, this will be a fun-filled, jam-packed, educational event! It all starts on Wednesday afternoon with four different NSSEA workshops to choose from that day. The learning continues Thursday and Friday morning before the show.  There are a number of great topics being covered this year, from Hot Topics to You Have to be a Little Crazy to Building a Marketing Plan to Navigating Your Way through CPSIA and the new consumer products safety laws. We have the bases covered this year.

With all the workshops and being on the show floor, don’t forget about the networking. NSSEA provides unlimited opportunities for you to meet and talk to your fellow members. Start the show off right at the Welcome Reception on Wednesday evening (5:00PM-6:30PM) in the convention center. This is a great way to unwind after a full afternoon or workshops.  NSSEA provides a continental breakfast on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings, where you can share ideas with other members on what you have found on the show floor so far.  Then there is the NSSEA “Saddle Up” Ranch Party on Friday evening.  Make sure you have your western gear for this event and in the exhibit hall on Friday, this is Texas by the way!

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get there! Make sure to stop by the Membership Booth on the show floor to see all the newest NSSEA has to offer, you our members! Well, see you in Dallas!


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