The Weber-Stephen display at last year's Spoga+Gafa. (Photo: Koelnmesse)
EVENTS

Next up on world stage: Spoga+Gafa

The trade show people at Koelnmesse have a growing story to tell.

BY HBSDealer Staff

The sprawling Koelnmesse convention center in Cologne, Germany, home of the every-other-year Eisenwarenmesse – or International Hardware Fair – is investing 700 million euros on an improvement project. The mission is not to get bigger, but to get better, said Stefan Lohrberg of Koelnmesse.

Part of the project involves a new entrance to the facility and a conference/exhibit area designed for flexible meetings and networking events, both large and small.

In 2020 a revamped Hall no. 1 will greet visitors to the Eisenwarenmesse show. More immediately, Spoga+Gafa, billed as the world’s largest lawn and garden and outdoor living show, is expecting 2,132 exhibitors from 59 countries for its Sept. 2-4 show in Cologne.

As part of the trade show company’s culture of innovation, Koelnmesse says it plans to expand its “theme platforms,” a term used to describe special areas of interest. “Exhibitors of the future want to have added value,” Lohrberg said, during his visit to the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. “Certainly, meeting with people is the most important thing, but businesses today want added value.”

Lohrberg said he was impressed with the activity at the National Hardware Show’s Inventor’s Alley, which showcases the creativity for which U.S. shows are famous.

At Spoga+Gafa, those platforms will include “islands” of POS Green solutions; Akku (battery powered) & Smart Gardening World; Outdoor Kitchen World and a “Carousel of furniture.”

Promoting international trade is a major mission of the Koelnmesse group. The first step is to help people imagine trade, he said. “People think that there are more barriers than there really are,” Lohrberg said. “And trade shows are very good at building bridges.”

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