The Woodworking Show in Somerset, NJ was a flop - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 02-21-2010, 07:33 AM Thread Starter
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The Woodworking Show in Somerset, NJ was a flop

Is anyone else here a regular at the annual woodworking show ( tours the country? I've went every year for the last six or seven years (in NJ). I just wanted to see if anyone else went this year, and if they were let down at the lack of exhibitors? The show was probably 30-50% smaller than it has been in past years. It wasn't really worth going to, in my opinion, this year. In the past, Lie-Nielsen had a display, Kreg had a huge display, Freud had a big display, etc. None of them were there. And the venders that were there seemed to have less than last year.

I wonder if this is the new trend; companies don't find it worth going to these shows anymore because people buy on the Internet instead now. Or if it is due to current economic conditions, or both. Also, I noticed that the Kansas City show was the same weekend as the Somerset, NJ show. I don't believe the show has ever doubled up on one weekend before. So maybe the exhibitors had to choose one show over the other (and it appears they chose Kansas City instead of Somerset).

So anyway, I just wanted to put that out there, and see if anyone else went to the NJ show and was very disappointed. I hope next year is better.
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post #2 of 11 Old 02-21-2010, 08:09 AM
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Showspace and travel can be expensive, and times are a bit tough. While shows can be good income producers, they can also be a bust, if people don't buy.
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post #3 of 11 Old 02-21-2010, 08:11 AM
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I can't speak for the NJ show but I have been to the Charlotte, NC show for the past 4 to 5 years. It is normally held in March. They are not having a show in Charlotte this year. I don't know why it was not scheduled this year.
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-21-2010, 08:28 AM
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I used to go to the shows in Somerset, but how many times can you watch the same guy rip a paper thin slice of oak on a table saw to show you how great their blade is? Or the guy who hones his chisels on their sharpening system then slices strips of paper off with surgical precision..? There was hardly ever any deals from the quality manufacturers, unless you like the Harbor Freight type vendors who sold plastic push blocks for a buck or the sea off cheap Chinese router bits.

I did enjoy seeing the new stationary tools up close and personal and just the general atmosphere, but haven't found it worth the money for admission as of late...and oh yeah, the Somerset show parking sucks, especially on a really cold windy day!

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post #5 of 11 Old 02-21-2010, 08:29 AM
where's my table saw?
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JUst my theory on this

"It's the economy stupid" as they said back years ago. Major manufacturers are locating out of the country or are being underpriced by off shore companies. Grand Rapids the hub of furniture makers used to have one of the biggest wood shows as well as Atlanta. Each year the shows are 1/2 the size of past years or not at all. The shows used to feature major industrial tools but are now emphasizing more home shop equipment. At last year's show in Mt Clemens Michigan that was the case. This year's show in Taylor Michigan. I'll try to attend, maybe take some photos. But my friends in the commercial woodworking industry say business is way down and orders are few. Usually 6 -8 weeks behind, now 1 week out if all all. Lumber distributors here are closing due to lack of new housing starts after 35 years in business.
Small business need lower taxes and fewer restrictions on expansion capital to create and "save" the jobs here. bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specfic. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-21-2010, 08:44 AM
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Bill, you nailed it!

I've traveled to shows to see and touch the latest and greatest products on the market. I've always been a hands-on guy and being able to have equipment in front of me is what makes my mind up.

It will be years before we see the kind of marketing we have experienced over the last decade. It is the economy, thanks to those financial clowns and their Washington cronies.
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post #7 of 11 Old 02-21-2010, 10:51 PM
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It's not just the woodworking shows. Ceramic mold shows, carpet markets, craft shows, everything is dying. No one has money, so the vendors aren't going. We have been involved in all of them. They are all getting smaller or just disappearing.
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post #8 of 11 Old 02-22-2010, 10:14 PM
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The motorcycle show I have attended at the IX center in Cleveland ever since they started was noticably smaller this year. BMW, KTM, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Husqvarna, Ural were some of the usual manufacturers that weren't there this year. About 1/2 the vendors that are normally there weren't. And the displays of the big four Japanese and even Harley were about 1/2 the size. Sign of the times with the economy the way it is.
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post #9 of 11 Old 02-22-2010, 11:01 PM
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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.

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post #10 of 11 Old 02-25-2010, 11:25 AM
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I also attended the Somerset show and was upset at the lack of "show deals". In the past whenever I went to any kind of trade show it was to get the deals......

I wont waste my money anymore since I can get a better deal on almost anything over the internet. It is nice though to see the stationary equipment up close...
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post #11 of 11 Old 02-25-2010, 12:45 PM
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Sommerset WW show was a let down

Like everyone here that attended, I too drove a little over an hour on Friday to attend the Somerset show and I was very disappointed with the show and the venderís displays alike. I did not find anything that interests me, nothing really new to talk about. The general feeling of everyone that attended and I got speak to felt the same, a big let down. The mayor plays of the show like A.W. Meyer, Peachtree, Woodline and a few others were selling their products at regular price. No real bargain to be found.
Woodpecker was there, pushing their new router lift and setup at not bargain price. Kreg had a medium size table pushing their pocket hole jig and had very little or hardly any supplies for sale.

Even though with all these issues going on people still made purchases, especially on the DC connects, hoses and other small items were selling. Some people needed to purchase something so for the heck of it. P.S for does interested there is another show coming up on March 5,6 and 7 at Reading, PA
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