By Mike Jiggens
GIE+EXPO showed few indications of an economic downturn during the annual green industry event in October in Louisville, Ky.
Final attendance numbers were up in several areas, giving show organizers reason to celebrate.
“These numbers bode well for the industry,” show director William Sellers said. “They show that people invested time and money to do one thing—spec equipment.”
With nearly 16,600 participants for an all-inclusive event, dealer/retailer registrations were up 2 per cent from 2008 with nearly 5,400. About 6,300 lawn and landscape professionals attended the show, and specific attendance numbers show trends indicating an economic rebound in 2010 as merchandiser/buyer registrations were up 18 per cent, lawn and garden centres were up 25 per cent, and distributor numbers were up 9 per cent from a year ago.
New features such as the New Products Arena and the High-Performance Service Pavilion, as well as educational sessions for all segments of the industry, were well received and added value to the show for attendees and exhibitors alike.
The New Products Arena featured 70 new products from 50 exhibiting companies and was where attendees and the media came to see product launches from the industry’s leading manufacturers as well as start-up companies looking to make a splash at GIE+EXPO.
Additionally, 13 exhibitors were centre stage at the event, holding news conferences on the New Products Arena stage. For the first time ever, both attendees and the media were invited to sit in on the new product launches and presentations.
The High-Performance Service Pavilion was a big draw for dealers and service department managers who were looking for better ways to improve the efficiency and profitability of their service departments. A “how-to” pavilion simulated a highly-efficient service department and featured sponsors showcasing their best-practice strategies.
“We are always looking for ways to add value to the show, and the New Products Arena and the High-Performance Service Department were two big features at GIE+EXPO that did just that,” Sellers said.
Educational sessions for dealers and lawn and landscape professionals were well attended by people looking for best-practice solutions and answers to the tough questions being asked within the industry.
GIE+EXPO was host to nearly 500 exhibiting companies from around the world. Exhibit space totalled more than a half-million net square feet indoors and outside. About 100 of the exhibiting companies were not present at the event the previous year.
A 19-acre demonstration area outside the conference centre offered attendees the chance for hands-on comparisons of equipment.
GIE+EXPO is the 14th largest trade show in the United States and is sponsored by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) and the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS).