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T R A D E  S H O W  N E W S


AmericasMart Atlanta, the Georgia Retail Association and the Florida Retail Federation have joined forces to give top retailers from the southeast’s fastest-growing states preferred access to the nation's single-largest home, gift and apparel wholesale marketplace, according to Jeffrey L. Portman, Sr., AmericasMart president and chief operating officer, and Rick McAllister, president and chief executive officer of the Georgia and Florida entities.

Highlighting the new alliance is the Georgia Retail Association (GRA), Florida Retail Federation (FRF) AmericasMart Business Center open for the exclusive use of GRA/FRF members shopping AmericasMart’s 13 annual markets. The center is located on floor 6, showroom 677B of AmericasMart Building Two West Wing.

The alliance opens the door to new education, innovation and business-growth opportunities for thousands of Federation and Association members who as credentialed retailers currently attend or are open to attend AmericasMart markets, and accelerates AmericasMart’s long-standing focus on its expansive southeastern customer base.

The first-ever co-location of AmericasMart’s Atlanta Apparel Market with the Fall Gift & Home Furnishings Market and Atlanta Gourmet Market gave retailers important fourth-quarter buying opportunities amid a rich product mix for five straight days in mid-October. Additionally, The Best of Atlanta Awards were celebrated as a highlight of the Atlanta Gourmet Market.

The winners were: Best Beverage, Sea Salt Caramel Macchiato from Plentiful Pantry; Best Candy (Non-Chocolate), Praline Pecans from The Orchards; Best Chocolate, Pecan Brag Jr’s from Sweet Shop USA; Best Condiment, Balsamic Vinegar with Vidalia Onions Jelly from One Screw Loose; Best Dessert, Tropical Tucan from Graffiti Zoo; Best Extra, Brew Ha Haberno Jelly from One Screw Loose; Best Jam/Preserve, Lauri Jo’s Blueberry Pepper Jelly by Lauri Jo’s; Best Organic, Detoxify Me Organic from Tea’s Etc.; Best Snack, Mini Fillo Shells by Robert Rothschild Farm; and Best Soup, Tortilla Soup from Plentiful Pantry.

Robert D. Schuler has been appointed AMC officer in charge for all housing services, across all AmericasMart Atlanta markets and the AMC-managed LIGHTFAIR International trade show, according to Portman, Sr.

Schuler joined AmericasMart in June 2010 following his service as vice president/sales and director of the sales and services division at the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB). He has directed the operation of The Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart, which secures and services conventions, conferences, meetings and special events staged in the 7.2 million-square-foot complex’s exhibit halls, theatres and public spaces during non-market periods. Schuler’s responsibilities now expand to encompass the provision of housing services to AmericasMart market attendees, who annually occupy as many as 247,000 Atlanta hotel room-nights.

SGN’s Larry White and Joseph Mellek III will attend the January show in Atlanta.

Denver Merchandise Mart

The Denver Merchandise Mart will hold its Gift, Home, Jewelry and Resort Show February 23-28 for permanent showrooms and February 25-28 for temporary exhibitors.  Information about the Denver Show is available online.

Ellen Zibell, owner of Perennial Gardener, Fort Collins, Colo., (second from left), is the first recipient of the semi-annual “Summit Award” for outstanding, continued support of the Denver Gift, Home and Jewelry Association members and the many exhibitors of the Denver Gift Shows. The award was presented by Chuck Baglo, president of the Denver Gift, Home and Jewelry Association, who is shown at far left. Ellen’s husband, Ted, is also pictured along with Evonne Eiseman, buyer services manager for the Denver Merchandise Mart.

The semi-annual show, with over 450 exhibitors representing more than 4,000 lines, is a premier destination in the country for lodge, rustic, western and Native American products.  The show is also a major market for the souvenir and resort industry and offers an unsurpassed variety of products, featuring regional product lines not available at other major markets as well as gourmet, decorative accessories, collectibles, stationery, home furnishings, jewelry, resort apparel, toys and many traditional upscale gifts and handicrafts.

The show also offers free educational seminars for buyers, complimentary evening entertainment and buffets, complimentary Buyer’s Lounge with refreshments, free coat check, high-speed wireless Internet, free fax and copier service, over 3,000 free parking spaces, free parking lot shuttles, discounted hotel rates from seven area properties with free shuttles to and from the show, and the convenience of a market complex located under one roof.

The recent edition of the show, held late last August, posted a slight upswing in retail store attendance compared to a year ago. “Although the increase was small (3 percent), the swing was in the right direction, and we are pleased with that,” said Carol Hash, gift show director. For the third year, the show was held in conjunction with the Mart’s Denver Apparel & Accessory Market, offering the attending store buyers a much-applauded cross-over buying experience. An added bonus last August was the Floral Association of the Rockies Expo.

Halloween & Party Expo

One of the Halloween & Party Expo’s most popular and entertaining events will be back again in 2012. The Saturday Night Costume Style Show returns this year with even more dazzling, highly-anticipated costumes, as well as impressive new technology and multimedia to present the experience in the most professional and captivating way possible.

The show will take place at Houston, Texas’ George R. Brown Convention Center from January 28-31, 2012.

Halloween, a day historians say originated in Ireland with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, exists in one form or another in many countries around the world. Although it carries different traditions depending on where it is celebrated, American culture is influencing how the occasion is recognized internationally.

“It’s a highly entertaining format with the industry’s most creative costumes,” said Show Producer Rich Weber of Lenz Talent from Las Vegas, Nev. “The multimedia, models, and dancers carry the theme of each costume in entertaining ways.” 2012 will be Weber’s third year to produce the show, which has garnered rave reviews from buyers and exhibitors. The upcoming production includes professional models and dancers from Houston and Las Vegas. In addition to the annual style show hosted by the Expo itself will be exhibitor-produced shows.

With these unique style show experiences and more in the works, attendees for this year’s Halloween & Party Expo have a wealth of opportunity to check out what’s new in 2012 while being entertained.

In other show news, the work of designer Juan Pablo Cabrera, who works with feathers, will be highlighted, as will the work of Carmen Ballering, an award-winning event designer turned instructor who creates sculptures and haute couture from uninflated balloons.

Due in part to the growing popularity of American-style Halloween celebrations around the globe, international exhibitors are contributing to an anticipated sell-out for the 2012 Halloween & Party Expo. The 2012 show, which is nearly 92 percent sold, already includes vendors from countries including Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico. In addition to the growth in international exhibitors, there is also a rise in international buyer registration.

Showproco, LLC

Gift and novelty retailers live by a very simple game plan: Give consumers products that put smiles on their faces, and show them something they’ve never seen before. This philosophy took the business from airport nooks and dusty tourist shops to the diverse, multibillion-dollar industry it is today. Through countless ups and downs and twists and turns, savvy gift retailers have survived and thrived by looking ahead and identifying new product categories.

That explains the uptick in gift and novelty buyers at the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show in Las Vegas the past few years. The trade-only event, which is scheduled for January 11–13, 2012 at Mandalay Bay Convention Center, features a dynamic mix of exhibitors whose products capture the passion of sports and tailgating in almost every way imaginable.

The Pangea Brands™ booth at a previous Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show. The 2012 edition is scheduled for January 11-13 at Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Nevada.

“It’s no secret that the gift and novelty trade has been looking for new product lines the last few years,” said Buyer Relations Director Marti Soroka of Showproco, the company that produces the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show. “At the same time we have seen a significant increase of gift and novelty buyers and exhibitors here.

“The retailers shopping this show tell us they are focusing on ‘practical and personal’ gift items that will promote customer loyalty. Well, there is no customer more loyal than a sports and tailgating fan, and the sports licensing and tailgating items on display are definitely practical and personal. The products here cover dozens of retail categories and price points from a buck or two to several hundred. There is literally a money-maker every few steps. People are just blown away by the choices.”

With stores looking to stock more gifts that recipients “will remember me by,” the Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show offers endless possibilities. Thousands of innovative souvenir items, emblazoned with college and pro team logos, are due to make their industry debuts this January in Las Vegas.

The MTC Marketing Inc. booth at a Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show. Mention Souvenirs, Gifts & Novelties magazine when calling the show for free registration.

“That’s where the ‘smart money’ will be,” said Show Director Stanley Schwartz. “Stores looking for a competitive edge will find it at this show. Every time popular sports teams take the field, they are basically walking advertising for these products. And no one appreciates a gift more than a sports fan or collector.”

Schwartz added that the gift and novelty buyers who attend the show end up doing quite a bit of business in the tailgating section. “They are astonished to see the range of products in this category that are natural fits for their stores,” he reported. “Tailgating is a huge growth marketplace, and this is the show where people can start grabbing a highly profitable slice of that pie.”

The Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show wants to keep gift and novelty buyers coming back. To that end, the show is offering several money-saving incentives, including a popular License to Buy program that pays part or all of attendees’ hotel bills. For more information on this and other programs and to register, visit the show online or call Marti Soroka and register for free by mentioning Souvenirs, Gifts & Novelties magazine.

ToyFest West: The Buyers’ Playground

A new name and a new festive game plan bring ToyFest West: The Buyers’ Playground, formerly known as the Western States Toy & Hobby Show, to the Long Beach Convention Center in California March 24-27. ToyFest West will offer a playground of buying activity featuring over 650 exhibitors showcasing their products in a relaxed, fun environment.

The country’s largest regional toy trade show is also the easiest to experience. Beautiful Southern California weather, easy arrival and departure on the spacious convention center site, and a casual reunion-style atmosphere between buyers and exhibitors make ToyFest West a winning event for all participants.

ToyFest West events for 2012 include: PlayWest Gala Reception, Saturday, March 24; ToyFest Game Night, Sunday, March 25; and “Best of the Fest” presented by ASTRA, March 26. All of these events will be held at the Westin Hotel. For more information, visit the show online.

Urban Expositions

The September 20-23, 2011 edition of the Las Vegas Souvenir and Resort Gift Show recorded a 21.4 percent increase in attendance over the 2010 edition. Drawn by the show’s extensive, targeted product selection, show-sponsored hotel rates starting as low as $15.99, and a growing reputation as the “must-attend” national industry event, souvenir and resort buyers from casinos, theme parks, museums, zoos, aquariums and premier tourist destinations flocked to the sixth annual edition at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

More than 20 percent larger than the 2010 edition, the 2011 Las Vegas Souvenir & Resort Gift Show was extended from three to four days to give buyers extra time to shop. Bringing together more than 1,000 booths, the show highlighted the newest designs and introductions from top-name brands and innovative newcomers.

“We love working this show and the extra day has been a tremendous benefit,” said Terri Scheunemann, Como Zoo & Conservatory, St . Paul, Minn. “The show's timing is also perfect in that it gives us time for product development for the next season.”

“This is the only show that can get us to leave our stores during our busy season,” added Dave Coates, Skagway Mining, Ketchikan, Alaska. “This is simply the show you must attend.”

“This has become the show I do the majority of my buying from,” said Lisa Racutt, M&K Enterprises, Las Vegas. “This year was the best ever.”

“I loved exploring the expanded selection.  This show brings together the top-notch people at the top of the game,” said Lorraine Massey, Multnomah Falls Lodge, Troutdale, Ore.

Exhibitors’ reports of brisk order-writing and new business added to the buzz on the show floor.

“This show, by far, has the best qualified buyers in the industry,” said Pablo Merlo Flores, Pampeana. “It’s one of the least expensive shows to attend with the highest quality of buyer orders, always.”

“We’ve had great traffic at this show,” added John Potts, Duck Company. “It’s been an excellent show and we've seen a good mix of buyers from everywhere.” 

“The show improves by leaps and bounds every year,” said Bruce Miller, Karol Western.  “No souvenir buyer should miss it!”

Further strengthening the growing buyer base, Urban Expositions worked with leading industry associations like the National Association of Retail Buyers (NARB), the Zoo & Aquarium Buyers Group (ZAG), and others, to host seminars, hospitality and networking events for their members during the show.

The next edition will be held September 11-14, 2012 in Hall C of the Las Vegas Convention Center. 

Returning to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center from January 7-10, 2012, the Philadelphia Gift Show puts the spotlight on the newest, up-and-coming lines from the gift industry’s leading sales representatives and manufacturers. With the focus on a variety of product sectors, including Handcrafted, Home Accents, Birdwatch and Outdoor Living, Made In The USA and Souvenir and Resort, the nation’s largest regional gift show offers retailers more to explore than ever before.

“The Philadelphia Gift Show has always been home to thousands of the industry's main lines and top regional sales representative groups,” said Doug Miller, president, Urban Expositions. “And the winter edition is no exception. We strive to put together the most comprehensive grouping of product for the buyers from the Mid-Atlantic and Tri-state region. From tabletop to greeting cards, gifts to gardening, retailers are sure to find what they need to restock their shelves after the busy holiday season. ”

As the West Coast’s first market of the year, the Seattle Gift Show returns to the Washington State Convention Center from January 14-17, 2012. Offering retailers everything they need to start the year off right, the winter edition brings together a wide range of product from innovative, eclectic designers and the industry’s biggest names. Housed in one of the West’s most interesting cities – filled with great restaurants, shopping and nightlife – it’s a great place to mix business with pleasure.

Among the highlights for the Seattle Gift Show are: Birdwatch America; Eco-Friendly, Green By Design; an expanded product selection; on-site buyer services; free educational seminars; a product preview area; free show specials; parking rebates and special discounts and promotions on Monday, January 16.

The San Francisco International Gift Fair returns February 18-21, 2012 to Moscone Center’s South Hall with a giant selection of top-name manufacturers, innovative newcomers and cutting-edge designs. Among the highlights for the SFIGF, Urban Expositions has announced plans to launch a new Tabletop, Gourmet & Housewares section at the winter show.

“Western Region retailers will benefit from a giant opportunity for a more efficient buying trip when they visit the show in February,” Miller said. “For the first time all of the gift industry resources in the west will be housed inside the Moscone Center. Further strengthening this growing selection, we’re also filling a void in the marketplace with the launch of a brand new Tabletop, Gourmet and Houswares.”

In addition to the new Tabletop, Gourmet & Housewares section, show highlights include: hotel rates starting as low as $85; The Global Showplace; an expanded product selection; Green By Design featured companies; companies offering wine accessories and gifts; onsite buyer services; special show specials on Tuesday, February 21; a parking rebate program benefiting the San Francisco Food Bank; discounts at local businesses when attendees show their badge and more.

Urban Expositions, GLM® and ACRE™

Every winter the Orlando Gift Show gets bigger by the ACRE’. Returning January 21-23, 2012 to the Orange County Convention Center's North Concourse (Hall A), the Orlando Gift Show and Orlando Cash & Carry Show are perfectly timed to help Florida retailers preview new lines for spring holidays and restock after the busy holiday season. Once again the winter edition will collocate with the American Craft Retailers Expo™ (ACRE™) – offering retailers a tremendous, complementary product selection of giftware, accessories, jewelry and artisan crafts.

“Orlando’s central location for the collocation of the Orlando Gift Show, Orlando Cash & Carry Show and ACRE™ gives Florida retailers an opportunity to keep their travel costs low while they restock their shelves with a tremendous selection of giftware, accessories, jewelry and artisan crafts,” said Doug Miller, president, Urban Expositions, managers and producers of the Orlando Gift Show along with partners GLM®.

Show highlights include: One badge will be honored for the Orlando Gift Show, Orlando Cash & Carry Show and the ACRE ™; one-stop shopping for general giftware, home and garden accents, gourmet gifts, party and paper goods, tabletop, holiday/seasonal, collectibles, souvenir/resort merchandise, bed, bath, and linen and more; and free educational programs, including a Hospital Gift Shop seminar presented by Souvenirs, Gifts & Novelties Contributor and industry expert Marilyn Nason.

SGN’s Laurie OMalley will attend both the Orlando and ACRE™ shows.

CelebrateXpo! Convention and Trade Show

CelebrateXpo!, the convention and expo that is changing the gift industry, is coming to The Orleans Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., August 5-7, 2012. The show brings the gift basket, floral, balloon and event planning industries together to help grow, unite and promote the gifting world to a higher level. Attendees will experience three exhilarating business-building days, 17 different sessions to include hands-on workshops, all within spacious individual classes, four valuable networking events to include a Mardi Gras Awards Gala, nine hours of trade show fun, shopping, prizes and more.

Attendees will gain knowledge and training from industry leaders, skills to create amazing designs and the ability to sell them and support from peers and vendors. They will also experience an introduction to some of the most reputable vendors and suppliers available nationwide to the gift industry today.

Urban Expositions Shifts Dates for the 2012 Smoky Mountain Gift Show in Gatlinburg, Tenn., November 8-11, 2012

Show Shifts to Open One Day Earlier

Responding to overwhelming onsite feedback from buyers and exhibitors during the 2011 edition of the Smoky Mountain Gift Show at the Gatlinburg Convention Center in Gatlinburg, Tenn., Urban Expositions has announced plans to open the show one day earlier to run from November 8-11 in 2012.  The move now allows Gatlinburg’s Smoky Mountain Gift Show to open on the same date that is planned for the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies (IGES) in Sevierville, Tenn. Previously, the Gatlinburg show opened a day after the Sevierville show.

“We were overwhelmed by the requests we received from buyers and exhibitors alike who asked us to find a way to open both shows on the same date,” explained Doug Miller, president, Urban Expositions. “From independent gift shop owners to corporate and chain store buyers, countless retailers told us that the staggered opening of the two shows created significant challenges for their travel and store staffing needs. Our exhibitors echoed these comments, agreeing that a unified opening date was the right decision for the overall marketplace. Our customers spoke and we listened.”

The move now shifts the Smoky Mountain Gift Show’s date pattern from a Friday - Monday to a Thursday - Sunday pattern, which also gives buyers the chance to be back in their stores and/or corporate offices by Monday.

The November 2011 edition of the Smoky Mountain Gift Show was the first one under the management of Urban Expositions, which acquired the show in February of 2011.  

“This first show was a great learning experience for us,” explained Miller. “We’ve gotten some wonderful input from all of our customers and want to continue fine-tuning and enhancing this show to make sure we’re creating the best possible business environment for our exhibitors and customers. We also want to continue to maintain open lines of communication with M&M Gift Shows, the management team for the IGES event.”

In addition to a unified opening date, Urban Expositions also plans to continue other cooperative efforts with M & M Gift Shows that were put into place for the 2011 editions of the Smoky Mountain Gift Show and IGES event, including honoring show badges and sharing costs of shuttle service between the two venues.

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