ISH Needs the Majors, a Saturday: Exhibitors

LAS VEGAS The second edition of the ISH North America Show was a success, its organizers said, with total registration for the show of 11,842 attendees from 47 countries. The show included 530 exhibiting companies from 16 countries. The show organizers also included some nice added touches on the show floor, such as the SmartHouse exhibit. A New Product Showcase showed off the best and the newest

LAS VEGAS — The second edition of the ISH North America Show was a success, its organizers said, with total registration for the show of 11,842 attendees from 47 countries. The show included 530 exhibiting companies from 16 countries.

The show organizers also included some nice added touches on the show floor, such as the SmartHouse exhibit. A New Product Showcase showed off the best and the newest new products from manufacturers in a variety of market segments and the Design-Plus displays showed products that had won awards at the ISH Show in March in Frankfurt. The PHCC International Apprenticeship Contest drew an attentive audience.

Show organizers Messe Frankfurt could also point to satisfied customers.

“Traffic was of much higher quality at ISH North America than at some of the other, larger shows in which we exhibit,” said Don Gibson, plant manager for Alberta Custom Tee Ltd. “Over 90% of our booth traffic was either a customer or a potential customer, as compared to 50% at other exhibitions.”

Nevertheless, some other exhibitors told CONTRACTOR that they were disappointed in the attendance and they had two specific recommendations: Messe Frankfurt has to get the big dogs there — Kohler, Moen, Delta and American Standard. And it would be a good idea to run the show through Saturday to bring in busloads of local tradespeople who might have trouble getting a day off during the week.

“It was very slow again,” said Charles White of J.R. Smith Manufacturing Co. “We had people who came by who were qualified leads. Plenty of contractors came by and a couple wholesalers, but overall it was very, very slow traffic-wise, and we had a good location on a corner of two main aisles.”

J.R. Smith has not decided if it will exhibit next year in Boston both from a cost standpoint and the fact that the show is separated from the well-regarded American Society of Plumbing Engineers Show by just a week. Nevertheless, White was pleased with Messe Frankfurt.

“Their organization, the way they handled paperwork, their cooperation, it’s all great,” White said. “They do an outstanding job. They got all the kinks out from the first year. The only thing disappointing for us was the lack of participation from contractors and wholesalers.”

Brian Suriner of McGuire Manufacturing Co. said the show met his expectations because he didn’t have any.

“It’s difficult for a smaller manufacturer like McGuire because the attendance at trade shows is driven predominantly by larger manufacturers like Moen, Delta, American Standard and Kohler,” he said. “They go out and do a big job recruiting people to go to the show and when they don’t go, that’s thousands of people who might have come to the show if they were there. Being a small niche player in the industry, few people look their calendars and say, ‘We have to go see McGuire.’”

Suriner is skeptical if more people can be drawn to the Boston show next year because Boston is expensive. He also wonders if wholesalers will ever be drawn to the show because they buy so much from national buying groups so the show holds no interest for them.

“I think the industry spoke by the lack of attendance at the show,” Suriner said.

Keith Kramer of Geberit and Chicago Faucet noted: “Based on what we intended to accomplish at ISH, it was successful for us. We specifically wanted to meet with certain distributors and contractors that can’t meet on a regular basis and we were able to do that at this show.”

Kramer added, however, that because Geberit and Chicago Faucet didn’t have any major new product introductions and did more relationship building, that its booth was too big.

“We took a look at how much of the booth was utilized while these conversations occurred and they occurred in peripheral areas,” Kramer said. Consequently, his company may be in Boston with a smaller booth than the one it had in Vegas.

Mark Giebelhaus, Marlin Mechanical, was happy with the show. Giebelhaus is a past president of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Association.

Giebelhaus said the show needs, “more manufacturers, like the manufacturers who were blatantly missing — Kohler, American Standard, Moen and Delta. I think they need to be there since this is the plumbing show of North America.”

Alan Danenberg of Elkay was happier than some manufacturers.

“It was worthwhile,” Danenberg said. “I thought the traffic was fair. It still gives us the opportunity to keep ourselves and our products in front of important people and contractors are obviously a big part of that.”

Elkay will be in Boston, he said, although with a smaller booth than the one it had in Las Vegas. It will also continue its Elkay Evening in the Park social event.

Howard Ahern of Plumberex is pushing for a Saturday.

“My one disappointment was that they didn’t have the show on a weekend day,” Ahern said. “Wholesalers in Southern California, Northern California and Arizona said that if they had held it on Saturday, they would have come in Friday night.”

The announced show dates for next year are Oct. 14-16, with Oct. 16 being a Saturday.

TAGS: Bath/Kitchen