Upfront: GIE+EXPO continues impressive run

By Steve Noe

The Green Industry & Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO) enjoyed another record-breaking show Wednesday, Oct. 19 (Dealer Day), through Friday, Oct. 21., at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC) in Louisville, Ky.

For the third consecutive year, GIE+EXPO and co-located Hardscape North America (HNA) set show records for attendance and exhibitors. More than 22,600 people registered for the mega trade show, representing a 12-percent increase over 2015. A whopping 33 percent of dealers and 44 percent of landscapers were first-time attendees. More noteworthy numbers from GIE+EXPO and HNA include:

* More than total 900 exhibits between GIE+EXPO and HNA, including 230 new exhibitors.

* The New Products Showcase sold out with a record number of companies (76) displaying more than 100 products that were introduced within the past year.

* The indoor booths covered 676,000 net square feet (the equivalent of 14 football fields).

* The indoor show floor was 80,000 square feet larger – a 17-percent increase over 2015.

* The Outdoor Demonstration Area covered 20 acres – up an acre over last year.

* HNA increased in size by more than 25 percent over 2015 and was moved to the KEC’s North Wing this year to accommodate its growth.

* More than 30 exhibitors hosted press conferences.

“The show is bigger than ever,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), the managing partner of GIE+EXPO, as well as a sponsor along with the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) and the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP). “I’ve said that each year for the past three years. It’s been a pretty good run.”

Once again, Dealer Day – open to dealers, distributors, retailers and media only — kicked off the show on a high note. The inaugural UTV University, which was presented by OPE’s sister publication, Powersports Business magazine, with Cub Cadet and Jacobsen serving as premier sponsors and Walbro as a session sponsor, featured special education and offerings for the UTV market and drew 370 dealers and powersports retailers. For the first of his five free dealer management sessions during the show, Bob Clements drew more than 300 attendees who learned about the seven principles of a high-performance dealership. The Dealer Keynote event, sponsored by Gravely and Stihl, drew more than 500 participants to hear best-selling author Jason Dorsey, “The Gen Y Guy,” discuss how to sell across generations. During an evening dealer reception held on the KEC show floor, several exhibitors hosted fun-filled activities and giveaways in their booths. Stihl Inc. held its traditional Oktoberfest festivities and its $5,000 giveaway, which was won by Kurt Mechling of Performance PowerSports in Seneca, S.C. Following the show, attendees were treated to the first of three nightly concerts, sponsored by Dixie Chopper, in downtown Louisville’s 4th Street Live entertainment complex as The Louisville Crashers took to the Nissan Commercial Vehicles stage. Brooke Eden and Joe Nichols performed concerts on Thursday, and Kirby’s Dreamland and Wax Factory followed suit on Friday.

Mark your 2017 calendars for next year’s show, which will return to Louisville Wednesday, Oct. 18, for dealers, distributors, retailers and media, as well as Thursday, Oct. 19, and Friday, Oct. 20, for everyone in the industry. HNA, which co-located with GIE+EXPO seven years ago, has an agreement to co-locate through 2018. Online registration will be available early in 2017.

For more GIE+EXPO 2016 news, please see the “GIE+EXPO 2016 Show Recap” on pages 12-24 and 38 and the “Equipment Focus” on riding mowers on pages 30-34, as well as bonus coverage on OPE’s website at outdoorpowerequipment.com and Facebook page @OutdoorPowerEquipmentMag.

Senior Editor Steve Noe