The 2013 GIE+EXPO (Green Industry & Equipment Expo), Oct. 23-25 at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, buzzed with business indoors and out. A 6% registration increase generated an audience of more than 18,000 people from around the world, and the DIY Network and NBC were on hand to report to their national consumer audiences about trends in the industry.
Dealers and lawn & landscape pros networked, gathered valuable information from the many classes offered and compared products in the popular, 19-acre Outdoor Demonstration Area.
Hot topics during the show were the vast array of new environmentally friendly products and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute's (OPEI) ethanol awareness campaign.
Leaders of GIE+EXPO and the co-located Hardscape North America (HNA) announced during the show that the co-location will be extended through 2016. This year more than 1,500 hardscape contractors and distributors registered for HNA.
Dealer Day, Wednesday, October 23, was back by popular demand and helped stimulate a 6% increase in the number of dealers, distributors and retailers attending the show. The Dealer Resource Pavilion was open all day; classes were offered for dealership owners/managers, technicians and rental dealers; technicians' certification exams sold out, and the show floor was open 3-7:00 p.m. The preview day provided focused education and facilitated one-on-one time so exhibitors and dealers/distributors could network and discuss pricing and products.
Bob Clements, the national consultant who led classes for dealership owners and managers, said, "This year's Dealer Day was a huge success for the dealers and their employees as well as for the sponsors of the Dealer Pavilion. Each of the technical training classes sold out, and the 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. workshops I conducted had over 300 people seated with dealers standing in the back. At the conclusion of each session the sponsors had hundreds of dealers who were motivated to improve their stores flood their booths seeking more information and knowledge on the best way to grow and achieve higher levels of profit. It was a 'Wow' experience for everyone involved."
During a reception on the show floor Wednesday evening exhibitors held prize drawings and entertained with food and beverages. Dave Wilder, a distributor from GLO Products of Largo, Florida, won STIHL's big $5,000 STIHL giveaway.
On Wednesday while retailers, distributors and dealers were busy at the Kentucky Expo Center, lawn & landscape professionals were in downtown Louisville taking classes offered by the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) and Professional Landcare Network (PLANET). The sessions continued at the Expo Center on Thursday and Friday.
Education offered for GIE+EXPO attendees climbed 21% over last year. PLANET, HNA, the North American Equipment Dealers Association, the Engine & Equipment Training Council and some exhibitors provided speakers and trainers.
A new feature this year was the Dealer Summit, during which dealers and distributors heard industry leaders discussing challenges and future opportunities.
Thursday's Dealer Resource Roundtable Breakfast, sponsored by STIHL and Gravely, provided an opportunity for dealers to share best practices during facilitated roundtable discussions.
The entertainers in the free nightly concerts were Craig Morgan on Wednesday night; Three Dog Night on Thursday night; and Holly Williams on Friday. All were held in the downtown entertainment complex, 4th Street Live! on the Nissan Commercial Vehicles stage.
Including HNA there were 637 indoor exhibits, which represents a 6% increase. The popular New Products Showcase featured 46 companies spotlighting 69 products that were introduced within the past year.
The Outdoor Demonstration Area increased in size with about 100 of the indoor exhibitors giving attendees a chance for hands-on experience with their equipment.
One of GIE+EXPO's long-time exhibitors is the University of Georgia. Pamela Bracken, CPP, of UGA's Center for Continuing Education, said, "In our 10+ years exhibiting at the show, we have found the GIE+EXPO's robust and diverse audience of green industry professionals is an effective and valuable investment with our modest marketing budget. GIE+EXPO brings a good ROI to any exhibitor. We have already scheduled future GIE + EXPO dates on our calendar for the next three years!"
Mike Barrett of Landscape Layers and Wheel It Off said, "We had more than 140 registrations in one day for our proposal generation & iPad measuring software! We signed up hardscape and irrigation contractors, pest control pros and landscapers. The quality of GIE+EXPO attendees and their desire to improve in their industry is amazing."
Just Some of the Prize Winners
The show awarded travel packages to Walker McAlister, Evergreen Landscaping & Maintenance (ELM), Marshville, North Carolina, and Mark Berardi of Pro Landscape Supply in Stamford, Connecticut.
The last day of the show was dubbed "Fabulous Friday" during which Ben Bremer, a servicing dealer with Hoyer Outdoor Equipment in Brookport, Illinois, won $1000.
Also on Friday, the first-ever Hardscape North America Installer Championship concluded with Decorative Paving Company, Loveland, Ohio, emerging as the champ and winning $1,000, an iQ360 14" masonry saw with fully-integrated dust collection plus accessories (valued at $5,348), a trophy and bragging rights for a full year.
The winners of the 2013 Power Equipment Trade GIE+EXPO Dealers' Choice Awards:
•Accessory/Attachment-B3C Fuels Ethanol Shield 2-Stroke Oil
•Handheld-STIHL MS 251 C-BE Chain Saw
•Industrial/Engine-Briggs & Stratton Vanguard 810cc V-Twin engine
•Wheeled-Excel Hustler Super 104 Mower
The dates for the 2014 show in Louisville are Oct. 22 for dealers, distributors, retailers and media and Oct. 23-24 for everyone in the industry. The Demo Area will be open Thursday and Friday, Oct. 23 and 24. Watch for an expanded technician certification program and increased opportunities for suppliers of UTVs.