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Plus a slide show from the show floor.
Heading into this ASR there was a lot of buzz that the show was in trouble. People were worried about the late dates, the increased trade show competition and that some of the large brands, such as Quiksilver, Roxy, Hurley and Reef, weren’t exhibiting.
Despite the fears, I spoke with several exhibitors who told me the show was better and busier than expected.
I also talked with ASR’s Andy Tompkins about the show, if ASR will happen twice a year in the future, and the opportunity he sees to possibly work with snow brands given the reluctance of some West Coast retailers to travel to Denver for SIA.
I also spoke with Black Box’s Jamie Thomas about his thoughts on how Crossroads turned out in its new location in the parking lot of Petco Park and if the skateboard show would ever move back under the convention center roof.
ASR looked very different this show due to the more uniform booth looks that Andy described as “turnkey” booths.
For a 10-foot by 10-foot space, exhibitors paid $2,500 including lights and other necessities that are usually a separate buy. With a two day show, those booths also made for easier teardowns and set ups and brands could bring fewer employees since the spaces were smaller, Andy said.
Brands had the option of upgrading those booths by adding graphics to the walls or going for a bigger size.
Andy said the total spend for brands that went for the turnkey option was nearly 50% lower.
ASR then created a bigger lounge area in the front of the show, a more stylized fashion show space and a mini-ramp to generate energy and jazz up the uniform look of the floor, he said.
While the number of brands exhibiting was up 20% from January 2009 when ASR, Class and Crossroads were combined, ASR was obviously generating less revenue due to the smaller booths.
When I asked Andy if the show would be profitable, he said, “We consider this (show) an investment in the community."
“We’ve been with this market a long time, through good and bad times, and we consider this an investment in the community that allows the brands to be here at an affordable price,” he said.
When the economy and business conditions improve, ASR hopes that investment will be rewarded, he said.
Given that the winter ASR show is always smaller than the show held in late summer, and given the fragmented trade show environment, I asked Andy if ASR will continue its bi-annual format.
“Yes, we are committed to ASR twice a year,” he said.
He thinks for the bigger show on August 13-15 brands will build bigger booths to show retailers, the media and the investment community their brand messaging and brand flavor. The dates also fall within more sales calendars, he said.
ASR is in the first year of its 5-year contract with Class, and Crossroads will continue its relationship with ASR at the August show and then the two sides will access the situation, he said.
Andy and I also talked about opportunities in snow. Given that some West Coast retailers say they don’t want to travel to Denver for the show, I asked him if ASR would ever try to tap into that market.
“I do feel there’s an opportunity to bring more snow here and we are definitely looking at the options,” Andy said. “We will see what we can do next February.”