Part Three, the Running Event Trade Show, a stroll through the trade show floor and some observations from Max Lockwood.
The Running Event is known first and foremost for its world-class trade show. Says Luke Rowe, Vice President of Sales and Business Development for Fleet Feet incorporated….” I felt the 2014 TRE was the best I have attended so far both for organization and content. Great opportunity for us to connect with many of our owners as well as our key suppliers.” What Luke and many other store owners and product company reps felt about this year’s Running Event was that it was indeed the best show to date for bringing the right combination of stores to and product folks together while not having things weighing too heavily in one direction or the other. This year’s trade show was indeed, the biggest to date from an attendance standpoint. There were 872 retailer buyers from 24 countries, representing 368 unique ownership groups. There were 310 exhibiting manufacturers of new products and the show was attended by 2,676 running industry professionals. Says Mark Sullivan, President of Formula 4 Media…”The retail attendance numbers were particularly gratifying because it was a challenging year for run specialty. The fact that the stores turned out in such great numbers speaks to the vitality, resiliency and strength of the channel,” said Mark Sullivan, president of Formula4 Media. Suppliers to the running business report there’s no better way to reach this many prospects in 1-1/2 days.”
TRE 2014: Planning the booth visits, photo by Formula4Media
As noted from my previous writing on the Event, I was more impressed with this year’s presentation more than any of the others I attended in the past. Not that the others were bad mind you but just that this one was so much better. Perhaps, it was the layout or the way things seemed to be spread out well without feeling crowded or over burdened with too many people or booths, or, perhaps, on a lighter note, it was the pleasant little happy hour like venues scattered throughout the show floor where one was just as likely to get a nice beer and some snack along with an in-depth description on the latest technology from a respective product company. After all, it is not too often one gets to learn about the latest and greatest in insole technology while munching on a pretzel and drinking German beer but this was the case at the Running Event. These sorts of scenarios were so abundant that one had to be extra careful to not eat and drink too much! It is a Running Event, after all and not an eating, drinking and feeling merry event! It would certainly seem odd if one were to come back home with a few extra pounds from an event that supports one of the healthiest forms of exercise on earth!
So, with the good energy flowing, it was a pleasure to see an abundant group of retailers mixing and meeting with product company reps in order to do business and just meet face to face. Says Kris Hartner, Naperville Running Company…. “Best ever. Hands down. Just the right mix of retailers and vendors and the information sessions and meet and greet opportunities were excellent.”
TRE 2014: Sharing the ideas from the show, photo by Formula4Media
As the day went on and I continued talking, speaking and interacting with vendors and retailers it is clear that the people were excited and happy with the turn out and overall interaction. Regarding the products themselves, all of the major companies were on hand advertising 2015 items about to be brought into the market. On the footwear side, companies that have made a big push to get into the market over the past 5 years such as Newton, Altra, Skora, Merrel and ON were there in full swing with massive booths, a large assortment of staff and lots of product for people to try on and take home as sample gifts.
The Trade Show floor opens on Wednesday afternoon at 3pm and is open all day Thursday and then ends on Friday at 1pm. Despite the approximately 1-1/2 days the show is open, it is hardly enough time to see half of the products being showcased as each and every booth can be a separate venture onto itself and make the time go by exceedingly fast.
For retailers looking to make a decision on a product or negotiate terms, this is the best time of the year to do it and for a product company looking to find new accounts and showcase their respective brand, there is no better time than the Running Event to make your product shine.
Next up is Part 4: the secret sauce of the Event: the Indie 5K
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