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11/22/2021

Show-Glow: The case for live events

‘Why go to an event, anyway?’ The National Hardware Show offered answers.
an egg on top of a table
A big part of attending industry shows is seeing new items, for example these lighting ideas in the Habitat pavilion at NHS.

Industry shows let You get out there. Be out there; ’n get yer Glow On.

Ahh sweet freedom…. isn’t that it? Where you can bask in the very touch and feel, and the thrill, of simply soaking-in your industry, in-person. You. Your team. Your hardware business. Your building materials company.

But isn’t it also true, speaking to the attendee, that you can just as easily see products online? And to exhibitors, can’t you conveniently present your equipment in a YouTube video?

With all the zooming and onlining we’re caught up in today, why even go to an industry show, anyway? Why?

That was the question asked of a few people at the recent National Hardware Show in Las Vegas.

“I could say ‘to see new stuff’ or ‘to check out merchandising ideas’ which are true of course, but really I come to a show just to get out,” said Gabe Dworshak, retail and merchandising strategist, and employee owner, at Franklin Building Supply based in Boise, Idaho.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd
Merchandising Strategist at Franklin Building Supply Gabe Dworshak, at left, noted it's nice to get out to a show with his team.

He was entering the NHS show at the opening bell on the first morning when I stopped him and his crew for a quick chat and a photo.

“We’re here to gather ideas, maybe those will lead to a buy down the road. But really, it’s just nice to get my guys out to a show.”

The comment revealed a good reason why many attend industry shows. Beyond the great networking opportunities they offer, shows also let you treat yourself and your team to a reward.

Industry events let you engage your senses, all of them, to meet and greet (and eat), as well as dust off your expense account. Events allow you to touch and feel, to wander, and to discover. Those experiences are vital to all of us.

Exhibitors and speakers share knowledge of products, technology and thought leadership. That’s the face value of a conference. But socializing and recharging the batteries are equally key.

Put simply….

“Just glad to be out of the house,” said one attendee at the registration area. “So glad to be on the loose, walking around, checking out vendors,” he articulated.

a man sitting on a table
Show attendee said he was happy to be on the loose.

Events, especially during pandemic times, might be full of travel challenges, hotel booking hurdles and more, but in the end, they give you a change-of-pace, a refreshing gulp of, for lack of a better description, gladness!

“Ahhh to be out here again,” relished one vendor, grinning, and wrapping her arms around their company’s booth mascot, a giant stuffed polar bear.

a stuffed animal on display
The "Ahhhs" win when it comes to attending events.

Alyssa Almada, with Barrie, Ontario-based Polar Bear, maker of biodegradable weatherstripping said, “We’re here for the first time to get our name out in the market. And we’re so overjoyed to be here in person.”

The ‘ahhhhs’ seem to be winning when it comes to making a refreshing journey out to an event.

Over at vendor Rite in the Rain, based out of Tacoma, Wash., which makes weatherproof paper, and sells to hardware and the military, their little water sprinkler and faucet are going, and over the sound of water, Samantha Syth is saying to me, “we’re looking for a re-seller and to grow our hardware segment.”

a woman holding a sign
Show experiences include just being in the moment, and you can't really do that online.

Then to answer my question, she follows the chorus of others, relating how good a feeling it is to get out to a show and just “enjoy the escape from the humdrum,” and “live in the moment.”

Shows – all shows – including hardware and building industry conferences and events, provide great opportunities to talk with your colleagues, business partners and friends in person.

But don’t overlook other reasons to go: To give you and your team a reward; to enjoy a brief change of scenery, and to soak in the sounds, touches, feels and bright lights.

When next an opportunity comes your way to get to an industry show – go. And get your glow on.