Dan AriensDan Ariens, president & CEO of Ariens Company, Brillion, Wis., is the chairman of the third annual Green Industry and Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO). Sponsored by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) and Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS), GIE+EXPO 2009 will be held Thursday, Oct. 29, through Saturday, Oct. 31, at Louisville’s Kentucky Exposition Center. Ariens updated his fellow OPEI members about the show during the association’s 57th annual meeting in June. Excerpts from that presentation, along with updated information, are as follows:
You may be wondering why we opened this morning with Eddie Money. Well, Briggs & Stratton has been kind enough to again sponsor GIE+EXPO’s Thursday night concert. Eddie Money is the American rock legend who had a string of top-40 hits and platinum albums in the ‘70s and ‘80s. You should recognize all of his hits. Opening for Eddie Money will be our own maestro of rock and roll, John Shiely, and the Briggs Bluesbusters.
Rocktober will continue on Friday night when Ariens brings you The Grass Roots. From 1967 to 1972, The Grass Roots set a record for being on the Billboard charts 307 straight weeks. They are one of only nine bands that have charted 30 or more Top-100 Billboard singles.
Following The Grass Roots, we will be throwing a Fourth Street Live Party with the official Blues Brothers Band. Get ready to rock!
Both concerts are free to all our participants, and Fourth Street Live will be adding five new bars and nightclubs. Those of you who have attended in the past know it will be a lot of fun.
However, the real reason the industry is converging on Louisville October 29-31 is for business…and we think we have added some show promotions and business features that will enhance the trade-show experience for attendees and exhibitors alike.
For the first time, our promotions brand the four major areas of the trade show — Networking, the Demo Area, Education and New Products. Our direct-mail brochures and trade ads will alternate with four different versions that detail these four key elements of the show.
For the first time, every retailer and contractor customer will be able to join our trade editors to view exhibitors’ product launches and press conferences right on the exhibit floor. The “New Products Arena” with its “Main Stage” concept is expected to become a popular and critical part of future GIE+EXPOs. Adjacent to the stage will be the working press center and a new product showcase, where 50 top new products will be on display all three days. If your company has not reserved a product launch slot or reserved space to exhibit your new product, you need to do so right now! These are going fast, so your window of opportunity is closing.
We have had several inquiries recently about hosting customer meetings at GIE+EXPO this year and next. With the current economic market conditions, smart planners are taking advantage of the opportunity to launch products at the show in lieu of unveiling equipment and new programs prior to bringing them again to Louisville. We are making sure we give you every opportunity to market to your customers in a timely and cost-effective manner in conjunction with the show. The Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau has initiated a familiarization tour this year for exhibitors so you can see, first hand, the wide variety of meeting and entertainment facilities available in Louisville. When you receive details about the tour, which is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 28, during setup, I hope you will jump on this and make sure a meeting planner participates. It will be first-come, first-served till the bus is reserved.
Our outdoor demonstration area is changing a bit for 2009. To help with exhibitor expenses, we are limiting the demo area to the first two days. In the past, we were only open three hours the last day and yet it competed with the indoor exhibits on our lowest-attended show day. We will still have seven hours of demo time each of the first two days, and we get to save exhibitors some money by not being open on Saturday. Otherwise, it is business as usual. No other trade show or trade-show facility boasts a 19-acre demo park, except yours!
We are also investing some of our copy and ad space to detail the extensive education opportunities that will take place this year. We are very happy with the speaker lineup for the Dealer Experience that will take place on Thursday and Friday. We’ve also added a feature that is sure to be a drawing point for dealers looking for ways to improve the efficiency and profitability of their service departments. The new High-Performance Service Department is sponsored by Ariens, Cub Cadet, Husqvarna, Hustler Turf Equipment, Stens, STIHL, and Bob Clements International. This how-to pavilion will simulate a highly efficient service department, including two large bays plus service areas for riding, walk-behind and handheld equipment. It will also include a staging area and wash bay. Lifts will be provided by Heftee Industries and business management software will be provided by Ideal Computer Systems. Bob Clements International will provide training and tours of the pavilion.
Our new Web site includes the new “GIE+EXPO Virtual Marketplace,” where exhibitors can now communicate their exhibiting plans to potential attendee customers pre show. It is similar to a living online show directory, where exhibitors can profile company and product information, including product images, show specials, press releases and a trackable Hyperlink. It will also include a product category search and direct exhibitor appointment scheduler. We are getting our feet wet this year, but we expect this new tool to take off in 2010.
I truly believe 2009 has the best program and event promotion we have ever had…There are more than 13,000 trade shows produced in the United States every year, and because of you, the exhibitor, GIE+EXPO always makes the top 25 in terms of size.
NOTE: Pre-registration for a three-day pass to GIE+EXPO is $10 per person. The trade show admission for those who wait to register onsite will be $50. To pre-register online or for more information, visit www.gie-expo.com or call Sellers Expositions at (800) 558-8767 or (812) 949-9200.