Monday March 31st, 2014 - 3:16PM
The debate continues about the need for a four-day Home + Housewares Show even as most agree this year’s show was active and productive.
The refrain for a return to three days could be heard throughout McCormick Place during the third show since the four-day format was reinstated. The loudest complaints always seem to come from McCormick North, composed mostly of storage and cleaning product suppliers unlikely to embrace any reasoning that independent gourmet housewares retailers crave a four-day show.
Ground To Cover
It can seem that Chicago’s chamber of commerce benefits considerably more from the fourth day than those who foot the bill for it inside McCormick Place. But there is reasonable cause for a fourth day to many.
The extra day caters to retailers of all sizes with lots of ground to cover and lots of zeal to cover it. And it favors an expanding contingent of international buyers, a key growth outlet for suppliers in the face of a mature domestic retail market.
There will be stories from exhibitors about how an unexpected meeting on the final day certified the whole show. That extra day also was more bearable, perhaps, for those with big payoffs from meetings on Saturday or Sunday or Monday.
That domestic buyer traffic at the show is reported by IHA to have increased tells you the show has solidified its standing as an essential venue for the housewares trade (although there is work to be done by the IHA to broker a return of the major electric floor care companies).
Show Of Support
Diffusing traffic across four days can mitigate a trade show’s bustle. But activity slows on the final day no matter how long the show. The four-day format likely keeps more buyers inside McCormick Place for a full three days.
Speaking of keeping people inside McCormick Place, efforts by some former show exhibitors to divert visitors to offsite meetings during the show disrespects the exhibiting companies that spend considerable money and effort to create the draw to Chicago that is the show.
Such practice might not be new to the Home + Housewares Show, but credit the IHA for confronting it head-on this year in the following email alert to media: “...In respect for the 2,100 companies who have chosen to support the industry’s premier marketplace this week in Chicago, we hope you will stay at McCormick Place and view the thousands of new products these exhibitors are showing.”
There was so much, indeed, to see inside McCormick Place. And with some extra diligence by retailers and some extra patience by exhibitors, the four-day show can become even more agreeable to everyone.