Old Methane Gas Cloud
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Huntington Beach, California
I think first we have to answer, why do we go to these shows? To save money, right?
Well, in the last 8 or 10 years the business model has changed. The Internet has become a MAJOR retail space. The Internet has changed the retail model for the brick and mortar stores also.
Today, most brick and mortar stores are matching (or durn close) the prices found on the Internet. If they aren't, all you have to do is ask.
If you look at the show model, you have to rent exhibit space. You can probably rent an exhibit space 150 square feet for about twice the rent of a full store. Next you have to staff the booth and usually with people from out of town. There are transportation, living and meal costs. Five nights in a decent hotel cost probably as much as an apartment for a month. A cost saving for you and I just isn't the model any longer. (Sorry, but that's just the way that it is.)
I had a long talk with a vendor that would bring the kids to the show as a vacation. Before or after the show they would take in the local attractions. The vendor told me that the money isn't there any more. The vendor said that if they broke even by selling at the show they were happy. The reason that they attend the show is to get their product into the hands of a few woodworkers. Then those woodworkers talk up the product and they sell more through the web. (The Internet rears its ugly head again.) They are a very small vendor and trying to build their business.
Another vendor that I have observed is Micro Jig. They used the show circuit to build their business. Now Rockler and Lee Valley carry their product. However it was the show circuit that built their business.
There are other vendors who have exhibited with little enthusiasm and as a result, their business is about to die. Their product is a good one, but how many people can stand there and watch another picture frame demonstration? It doesn't matter how good the picture frames are, the demo is just boring. (It doesn't matter much which vendor is doing a picture frame demo, the demo is boring.) When people walk, they don't buy.
As a woodworker, you have to adjust your mentality about today's woodworking shows. It's time to get away from home maintenance, etc. It is time to enjoy woodworking demos and try to learn something. You may see something that you can't live without. You may see something that you didn't know existed.
Finally, I know of people that go to these shows with the same attitude that I have when I go to a NASCAR race weekend. It's fun! Adopt that attitude and you'll have fun. (Isn't that what it is all about?)
Use the right tool for the job.
Rich (Tilting right)
Huntington Beach, California
Remember that when we have the "BIG ONE" everything east of the Rockies falls into the ocean.