Volume 10, Issue 2 - February 2009

from the publisher

Builders’ Show: Bang for Your Buck or a Bust?
by Tara Taffera

I just came back from the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas and although the show isn’t even over as I’m writing this, I already read an article where the author was talking about poor attendance and empty aisles and empty booths. I'd like to offer a different perspective. 

In December, IBS officials said that on the low end 70,000 was a safe guess for projected attendance (104,000 people attended IBS in 2008). In 2009, show organizers reported that 60,000 people attended. 

Is anyone really surprised that the numbers would be down? Does anyone have to be reminded that housing starts are at an all-time low? Or that consumer spending and unemployment also have declined dramatically? 

Some exhibitors (suppliers more than door and window manufacturers) said that traffic was a lot slower than normal. But is anyone really surprised? Patrick Junker from G-U isn’t. He told me he had taken his expectations really low, and was focusing on the quality of leads they were getting rather than the quantity. 

There were empty booths, yes, but many of the door and window manufacturers who were there were packed with attendees—Pella and Marvin to name a few. In fact, many of the manufacturers who exhibited had an array of products, both new and existing, to show attendees. They reported that attendees were excited about the products they saw on display. 

I applaud the attendees who invested their valuable time and money to travel to this event to learn how they can differentiate themselves.

And I applaud the door and window manufacturers who displayed here and who introduced new products. Most of them are facing hard times and being forced to make tough decisions. But the experts say that it is in these market conditions that companies should still be focusing on new innovations, so when the market picks back up these companies will be ready.

Look to my next column in March for the trends seen at the International Builders’ Show. The March issue also will include a full round-up of products from IBS.

DWM

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