president • Home Escapes • Washington, D.C.
Do you plan to attend an industry trade show this winter?
Yes, I will be attending the Orlando show as I have before.
How do you divide your time at a show?
I spend most of my time looking at product. The seminars are not really relevant to me. I will be by myself, and I will spend my time just viewing the show floor.
What’s the driving factor for your decision to attend a trade show? Maybe there are products I’ve missed out on that I didn’t see in a magazine article. Mostly high-ticket items like spas. I also do furniture, so I look for the new designs and anything different.
owner • Seasonal Specialty • Amherst, New Hampshire
Do you plan to attend an industry trade show this winter? No. I rarely find or learn anything new anymore, though I certainly did when I was younger and less experienced. I rarely attend the national show. I am more likely to go to Atlantic City, where I can do the same thing: see people from vendors with whom I normally only interact by phone and email.
Can you think of something you’ve learned at a past show that changed the way you do business? A long time ago, a seminar in Atlantic City pointed out that I should run my company every day as if it were about to be put on the market, rather than in 20 years. Because the things I might do to improve its value would also be the things that would improve its value today.
owner • The Spa King • three locations in Florida
How do you divide your time at a show? As the owner, I’ll meet with vendors, and have my staff look at secondary items, accessory products.
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Can you think of something you’ve learned at a past show that changed the way you do business? I take a look at the way people lay out their spa booths. That makes me feel like a customer in a spa setting. That definitely affects how we will lay out our store. Manufacturers will bring between 10 and 15 spas to display, but they bring them all in one color, like white. I like to integrate color.
Do you set appointments with vendors/sales reps beforehand? Usually not, I’ll walk around and see what I like. If I see something, I’ll try to come back later that day. They can usually fit you in, almost always.
What do you love, or hate, about industry trade shows? It’s nice to get a vacation and see new products that are coming out. It’s great for people in the pool or spa business to see what’s on the cutting edge. That’s what I enjoy most, and it just reinvigorates you in general. You get people who work together, you go look at these products, and it gives you a new energy when you get back to work.
Tom Gervais owner • Carefree Spas • Albuquerque, New Mexico
Do you plan to attend an industry trade show this winter? Yes, the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo in Orlando. I want to keep up on the latest developments and products, catch up with old friends and solidify relationships with suppliers.
How do you divide your time at a show? I walk the entire show, and especially enjoy the small booths with new and innovative products.
What’s the driving factor for your decision to attend a trade show? I want to stay competitive and discover the latest innovations in spas, swim spas, colors, showrooms, advertising, internet, chemicals, sanitation, hiring, seminars, accounting, pricing and delivery.
Can you think of something you’ve learned at a past show that changed the way you do business? We saw the new hard-cover spas and now sell them at home shows.