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I checked in with Roy Turner yesterday to get his thoughts on how Surf Expo went last week. Roy discusses attendance, the challening date issue and whether the show will be in August or September next year, and several highlights from the event.
Roy Turner: "Surf Expo, like all trade shows, is a reflection of the current marketplace. Our goal is to offer an exciting, business-friendly venue that attracts the majority of industry's buying power on the national level. Despite a tough retail climate, we are confident we met that goal during last week's show.
(Right: Volcom's Tom Ruiz and Kevin Braden.)
"Our total attendance numbers for August were nearly 15% off from September 08, but overall store count remained on par - which continues the trend we saw in January where stores bring less staff to the show. Virtually all of the large brands I spoke with said the show exceeded their expectations.
"Our full-time buyer relations team worked hard to bring retailers from all areas of the country to the show. We saw an increase in attendance from our Caribbean, Great Lakes and Canadian buyers. For some retailers the pre-Labor Day dates proved difficult, particularly buyers from the Mid-Atlantic. New England area shops traditionally do not attend our summer shows, as many retailers from that region do not buy in the first quarter for weather-related reasons.
(Right: Jim Glik and Nicole O'Dell of Glik's, a Midwestern chain with 53 stores.)
"Our full-time buyer relations team worked hard to bring retailers from all areas to the show. Again, the August dates were a challenge for some shops. Despite that reality, 5,200 qualified buyers (actual buyers, not media or guests) attended Surf Expo August 2009. These buyers represented 2,294 stores from 40 states and 55 countries.
"More than 700 new retailers also preregistered for the show, and our team was there to help brands connect with buyers. Those that did had a jump on other exhibitors.
(Right: RVCA Sales Rep Rene Di Cristina, Bora Bora's Oscar Juelle and Luis Santori and RVCA's Eric Thomas).
"Exhibitors and buyers agree we did a good job reflecting the excitement of the market with several add-ons to the show, including a very well-received indoor wake rail jam, the 6th Annual Wake Awards, and a demo featuring top pro skaters. The BRA Retailer Survivor Series attracted 80 retailers for a full day of in-depth education and information sharing. The vast majority of our on-floor seminars during the show were received with packed audiences.
(Right: The Insight USA team.)
"As for our future dates: we are sending out surveys this week to make sure that our future dates best meets the needs of both exhibitors and retailers alike. We will not face scheduling difficulties with religious holidays like we did this year and we have the needed flexibility with the Orange County Convention Center to set 2010 dates based on customer feedback.
"In the end, retailers will decide future dates and that pattern will need to accommodate the majority based on buying season. Currently we have dates reserved for August and September, and should have announcement by week's end after we complete our surveys."
(Above: making waffles at the Vans booth)
(Right: BRA Executive Director Melissa Clary with Sage Island's Adrienne Belk.)
(Right: SIMA's Mandy Johnson and Sean Smith.)