Expectations great for GIE+EXPO 2008

Dan Ariens, president and CEO of Ariens Company, Brillion, Wis., is the chairman of the second annual Green Industry and Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO). Sponsored by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) and Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS), GIE+EXPO 2008 will take place Thursday, Oct. 23, through Saturday, Oct. 25, in Louisville, Ky., at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Ariens updated his fellow OPEI members about the show during the association’s 56th annual meeting June 19-21 in Lake Las Vegas, Nev. Excerpts from that presentation are as follows:

At our annual meeting two years ago, we announced the merger of OPEI’s EXPO with the Green Industry Expo (GIE). It created the industry’s largest and most successful event, GIE+EXPO, the Green Industry and Equipment Expo.

We worked diligently and creatively with our partners at PLANET and PGMS to produce an event that provided significant value to exhibitors and attendees. We will continue to do so with each succeeding GIE+EXPO.

So, how did we do? Let’s look at the numbers. In 2006, indoor exhibit space at OPEI’s EXPO totaled just over 166,000 square feet. Last year, indoor exhibit space sold totaled more than 246,000 square feet. The outdoor demo area was sold out with more than 560,000 square feet. With that combined square footage, GIE+EXPO was the 16th largest trade show in North America last year.

Out of how many shows you might ask? Last year, there were more than 13,000 trade shows produced in North America. Exhibit space totaled more than 500 million square feet. These events generated $11 billion in revenue. The trade show industry is a fair size, wouldn’t you say?

In 2006, EXPO had 449 exhibitors. Last year, there were 643 exhibitors at GIE+EXPO in Louisville; 228 were new exhibiting companies. Our show attracted more than 13,000 dealer/retailer and landscape professional attendees and more than 7,000 exhibitor personnel.

By all measures, GIE+EXPO was a home run. Much of this success is due to the tremendous efforts of Warren Sellers and his staff at Sellers Expositions.

I can also tell you this. Last year’s show was not even concluded, and Warren and his staff were already moving on the 2008 GIE+EXPO show.

As you encourage your customers to attend GIE+EXPO, remember to tell them about the important business education opportunities available to them while they attend the show.

For landscape professionals, there is PLANET’s Green Industry Conference. This comprehensive and focused program is the premier education event for landscape contractors. PLANET is again offering three introductory sessions at a reduced price, and these sessions are open to dealers as well.

For grounds management professionals, there is PGMS’s School of Grounds Management, featuring a great expert faculty. It offers continuing education for the experienced pro and courses for the up-and-comers to progress toward becoming a certified grounds manager.

“The Dealer Experience,” sponsored by Stihl Inc. and the Ariens Company and hosted by the North American Equipment Dealers Association and OPEI, was very popular last year. So, we are offering it again this year and making it even better. It’s an opportunity for dealers to learn and interact with some of the best experts in the industry — their peers.

Of course, a major event like GIE+EXPO can’t just be all work. A little R&R and entertainment is also in order. Back by overwhelming popular demand is Kohler’s Brat Fry.

Stihl will also help draw attendees outside to the demo area by presenting the Stihl Lumberjack Challenge each day.

Trucks of the Industry Giveaway will also be back. One lucky attendee will have the chance to win $20,000 toward the purchase of a new truck from one of these exhibiting companies.

A new, very exciting feature called “New Products Live” is an expanded and improved new-products showcase. Be sure your company is included because many visitors will use this showcase as a starting point for seeing the newest innovations.

Anything going on at night during GIE+EXPO? I’m glad you asked. Thursday and Friday nights, we’re taking it to downtown Louisville and 4th Street Live! Rock meister John Shiely and the Briggs Bluesbusters band lead it off on Thursday night, followed by 38 Special. We’ll raise the roof again at 4th Street Live! on Friday night as the Ariens Company brings you Lonestar.

GIE+EXPO — October 23-25 — Louisville, Kentucky. If your companies and mine make this a can’t-miss event for our customers, we all come out winners.

NOTE: Pre-registration for a three-day pass to GIE+EXPO is $10 per person. The trade show admission for those who wait to register onsite will be $50. To pre-register online and reserve hotel rooms, go to www.gie-expo.com. Those who register online will be eligible for a drawing for flight certificates to the Caribbean sponsored by Ariens Company and American Airlines.

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