By Steve Noe
Now that I’ve had ample opportunity to pour over all of my notes, flash-drive media kits and other intel that I gathered before, during and after the 2015 Green Industry & Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO) Oct. 21-23 at Louisville’s Kentucky Exposition Center, here are some fascinating facts and figures, as well as a few observations and random thoughts on what I thought was a great show.
* Between the indoor exhibits and 19-acre outdoor demo area, the footprint of the show was a record-setting 1.35-million square feet! To put that into perspective, that is more than 30 acres and the size of 27 football fields!
* With abundant sunshine and unseasonably warm temperatures in the 70s and 80s, the show drew more than 21,000 people, representing an 11-percent increase in registration over last year.
* The show featured 704 indoor exhibits, which was a 4-percent increase over 2014.
* With an influx of 193 new exhibitors, the 2015 show was the largest since the Green Industry Expo (GIE) and the International Lawn, Garden and Power Equipment Expo (EXPO) merged in 2007.
* Dealer Day continued to be a huge success in its third year, and I think it’s safe to say that it’s here to stay. In fact, GIE+EXPO has already announced that Dealer Day will be back for opening day of the 2016 show, which will be held Wednesday, Oct. 19, through Friday, Oct. 21, at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
* As far as product and technology trends, I would say the top three most noteworthy, in no particular order, were battery-powered products, electronic fuel injection (EFI) engines and stand-on mowers.
* Hardscape North America (HNA), which began co-locating with GIE+EXPO six years ago, has agreed to extend its co-location agreement through 2018. Since HNA has outgrown its space in the South Wing of the Kentucky Exposition Center, it will relocate to the North Wing in 2016. As a result, the Dealer Resource Pavilion will be moved onto the show floor in the South Wing and free up some space for GIE+EXPO and HNA exhibitors to expand. By the way, HNA 2015 enjoyed record-setting attendance with a 4-percent increase over 2014.
* In a classy move, the Equipment Dealers Association, formerly known as the North American Equipment Dealers Association (NAEDA), recognized Fred Whyte, retiring president of Stihl Inc., as its first honorary member (see story on pages 14-15).
* Being a Michigan State University graduate, I was glad to finally see someone use “Spartan” as a company name with Spartan Mowers of Batesville, Ark., making its GIE+EXPO debut. Founder Robert Foster was also a founder of another Batesville-based company, Bad Boy Mowers, and he reminded me that I helped put that company on the map with an article on its EXPO debut 14 years ago! I recalled the article, but thought there was no possible way that I wrote it that long ago. Sure enough, he was right as “Bad Boys among new toys, fun at EXPO 2001” appeared in September 2001 OPE. Made me feel really old!
For more specifics on the show, please read my “GIE+EXPO 2015 Show Recap” on pages 10-27 in this issue of OPE.
OPE Editor Steve Noe