New features add to GIE+EXPO 2009 experience for attendees, exhibitors

It’s been a tough year for many in the industry, but GIE+EXPO 2009 showed few traces of the economic downturn during Halloween weekend in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 29-31. With nearly 16,600 participants for an all-inclusive event, dealer/retailer registrations were up 2 percent from 2008 with nearly 5,400. About 6,300 lawn and landscape pros attended the show. And, specific attendance numbers show trends for economic rebound in 2010 as merchandiser/buyer registrations were up 18 percent, lawn & garden centers were up 25 percent, and distributor numbers were up 9 percent from last year’s show.

“These numbers bode well for the industry,” said Show Director Warren Sellers. “They show that people invested time and money to do one thing – spec equipment.”

New features such as the New Products Arena and the High-Performance Service Department, as well as educational sessions for all segments of the industry, were well received and added value to the show for attendees and exhibitors alike.

The New Products Arena featured 70 new products from 50 exhibiting companies and was the place to be to witness product launches. For the first time ever, the press and attendees were invited to sit in on these new product launches, with several exhibitors holding press conferences on the New Products Arena stage. Exhibitors that held press conferences included Agri-Fab, Ariens, Avalanche by Ledex Industries, B3C Fuel Solutions, Big Dog Mowers, Cub Cadet, Exmark, Grass Stitcher, Honda Engines, Husqvarna, John Deere, Kawasaki, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, Stens and Toro. 

The High-Performance Service Department was a big draw for dealers and service managers who were looking for ways to improve the efficiency and profitability of their service departments. This how-to pavilion simulated a highly efficient service department and featured sponsors, including Ariens, Cub Cadet, Husqvarna, Hustler Turf Equipment, Stens and STIHL, showcasing their best-practice strategies. Bob Clements International Inc. and ARI Network Services, Inc. were on hand to provide training and tours of the pavilion during scheduled times. Lifts for the pavilion were provided by Heftee Industries, and business management software was provided by Ideal Computer Systems.

“We are always looking for ways to add value to the show, and the New Products Arena and the High-Performance Service Department were two big features at GIE+EXPO that did just that,” said Sellers.

Educational sessions for dealers and lawn and landscape pros were well attended by people looking for best-practice solutions and answers to the tough questions being asked within the industry.

“This was our first-time at GIE+EXPO, and we enjoyed the complete experience,” said Doug McDuff, president of Landscape America in Wrentham, Mass. “From the new products and innovations to the demo area and the education sessions, we got a lot out of the show. And, we are already planning to come back in 2010 just to keep up with the industry’s newest trends.”

GIE+EXPO hosted nearly 500 exhibiting companies from all over the world. They displayed throughout more than ½ million net square feet of space indoors and out. About 100 of them, covering 16,550 square feet of space, had not exhibited last year. In addition to benefiting from education, networking and the indoor displays, visitors could walk outside to the 19-acre demonstration area for hands-on product comparisons offered each day by nearly 100 companies.

GIE+EXPO – the 14th largest trade show in America – is sponsored by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) and the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS). 

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