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JANUARY  2 0 1 2

T R A D E  S H O W  N E W S

Pigeon Forge Breaks Ground on LeConte Center, Announces First Booking

The International Gift Exposition in the Smokies/Souvenir Super Show (IGES/SSS) Commits to Dates in November 2013

The Oct. 27, 2011, groundbreaking for the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, Tenn., became a dual-purpose event when the city announced the first booking for the 232,000–square-foot multi-purpose facility.

The International Gift Exposition in the Smokies/Souvenir Super Show (IGES/SSS) is claiming 15 days in November 2013, just weeks after the scheduled completion of the $45 million structure.

“This show is a prime example of the type of event suited for the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge and a great demonstration of its ability to draw thousands of visitors who will patronize businesses all over town,” said Pigeon Forge Mayor David Wear.

An artist’s rendering of the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. The facility will include a 100,000-square-foot exhibit hall when it is completed in 2013, and The International Gift Exposition in the Smokies/Souvenir Super Show will expand into the center for its show that year.

IGES/SSS started in Pigeon Forge in 2000 and moved into progressively larger private facilities in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg before consolidating in 2007 in the Sevierville Events Center. Organizers label it the largest wholesale souvenir, resort and gift expo in the United States.

“We can hardly wait for 2013 because we will add the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge to our Sevierville operation, almost double our show and use more than 100,000 square feet of exhibition space in each building,” said Jerry Mayer and Susan Mills, co-owners of M&M Expositions LLC, which conducts IGES/SSS.

The primary feature of the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge is a 100,000-square-foot, clear-span exhibit hall. It also will have a 12,000-square-foot multi-purpose hall, a variety of multi-purpose meeting rooms that can be configured into various sizes, a catering kitchen, food and beverage locations and pre-function space.

It is designed to attract trade shows, competitive events and assemblies such as church-organized youth rallies.

An artist’s rendering of the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Groundbreaking for the facility was late last October, and it will become a show location for the IGES/SSS event in 2013.

"We have been sold out for some time and are accumulating a sizable waiting list of exhibitors," Mills said. "We are elated by the cooperation we feel and see our show continuing to grow."

The LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge is adjacent to a 1,600-space parking lot and next to the Pigeon Forge Riverwalk, the city's greenway along the Little Pigeon River.

“More than three decades ago, Pigeon Forge leaders and citizens charted a course that made Pigeon Forge a year-round destination for leisure and group travel. Today's groundbreaking for the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge keeps us on that successful course,” said Pigeon Forge City Manager Earlene Teaster.

Mike Smelcer of SRA Architects in Pigeon Forge, is the architect for the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, and Merit Construction Inc. in Knoxville is the general contractor. The center will operate as part of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

“There are active negotiations with numerous other prospective clients for the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge, and we anticipate announcing more contracts by next summer,” said Leon Downey, executive director of the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism.

Site preparation will occupy the next 60 days, followed by installation of the building’s steel supports. It should be under roof approximately a year from now and ready for occupancy in late summer 2013.

IGES/SSS began in Pigeon Forge in 2000 with 272 booths. The show will have more than 1,021 exhibitor booths this year and attract between 10,000 and 15,000 people to Sevier County.

Vendors from the United States, Canada and the U.K. will show thousands of custom and name-dropped items to buyers seeking new and customizable merchandise appealing to tourists, corporate promotions, catalog sales, fundraisers and more.

The buyers represent resort and souvenir shops, museum stores, zoos and aquariums, airport gift shops, specialty stores, amusement parks, theme parks, national and state parks, cruise lines, hospital gift shops, waterparks, beach shops, spas, catalog and online retailers and an array of other tourist attractions.

The show is open to wholesale buyers only, and proper credentials are required to enter.

“Our first show that incorporates the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge is Nov. 7-11, 2013, and we look forward to booking years into the future,” Mills said.

The California Market Center

The California Market Center (CMC) is excited to announce the addition of two prominent wholesale gift and home décor companies to its quickly growing Gift and Home Showcase. Rosalie & Friends and World Buyers will be joining Melrose International in debuting new showrooms at the CMC for its Gift & Home Market, January 17-23, 2012, reinforcing the CMC as Los Angeles’ thriving destination for gifts, holiday product and home furnishings, as well as fashion and accessories. The new showrooms will be located in the new Gift & Home Showcase on the CMC's 12th floor, C-wing.


AmericasMart Atlanta announces the next step in its comprehensive digital marketing strategy with the launch of a new website, The new site is a premier online resource for buyers and exhibitors with proprietary content as well as business and educational resources. It features improved navigation, dynamic content showcasing the vibrancy of AmericasMart through video and photography and exclusive online tools designed to optimize the Market experience for users.

Gift industry leader Roman, Inc. will substantially expand its AmericasMart Atlanta showroom in an important growth initiative that accelerates Atlanta’s robust gift category momentum in the run-up to the first global market event of 2012.

The newly expanded Roman space, which grows to 9,525 square feet in Suite 1400 of AmericasMart Building Two, will premiere at The Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market Jan. 11-18 (Temporaries: Jan. 13-17), with the Atlanta International Area Rug Market taking place Jan. 12-15 (Temporaries: Jan. 13-15). 

The January Market will encompass more than 7 million square feet of showroom space with more than 1,400 showrooms and more than 2,500 temporary exhibiting companies.

For those seeking the best in trends, networking and insights into the latest retailing initiatives, AmericasMart will once offer a signature lineup of seminars, networking events and celebrity demonstrations at the market.

AmericasMart’s The Education Center is the established go-to place for an extensive menu of practical, yet consistently insightful seminars. Topics range from social media, your bottom line, outdoor living and gardening, interior design and ideologies, expanding customer service and more. All AmericasMart seminars are free of charge to retailer and exhibitor customers.

Diverse Marketing, a Dallas-based firm that represents the premier toy lines in 26 states, continues its growth track with an AmericasMart showroom expansion that will nearly double its Atlanta presence to more than 8,000 square feet and broaden its position as a preferred destination for gift and toy buyers. The new expanded space, located in Building 2, showroom 1401, will debut in January.

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