Bill Crawford's Blog

Vegas, Baby!

What an incredible show the Natural Marketplace Show 2009 was!

No – it wasn’t up to the energy level and crowds of a Natural Products Expo West – but, then again, what is? It was like seeing Expo West’s baby brother, however!

- The floor was more crowded than it has been in years – maybe ten years, by my observation and I was at this show when it took its ill-fated forays to Nashville and San Antonio!

- Buyers stayed on the floor. With all of the things to do and see in Vegas, the crowd stayed on the floor much later on Friday and on Saturday than I expected. I noticed several long-time store owners and buyers taking their time, checking out each booth – either re-establishing connections or making new ones.

- New Exhibitors – I was amazed by how many vendors that I have never seen before. Amazed – and quite pleased!Our industry is an incubator for growth and innovation so new brands and products are always great!

- Education – the sessions that I observed or presented at were fuller than in previous years.

A common discussion that I found myself in with retailers and manufacturers alike was “why?”. Why was Expo West so good thing this year (setting a record for attendance)? Why is the retail attendance at Expo East looking so good already?

Part of the answer to that question is the hard work and dedication of the Trade Show and Conference Group at New Hope Natural Media (which also publishes Natural Foods Merchandiser and hosts this site.) These folks work tirelessly to create a great show environment and atmosphere for our industry and deserve credit and recognition for these results. If you haven’t seen the press release about the show yet, you can read it here -

I think also that much credit for the success of these shows goes to the forward-thinking members of the natural products industry retail community. We are in tough times – and data shows that natural and organic products are being negatively affected by the recession. Our retailers, however, rather than hiding out in the cellar and hoping to ride out the storm are coming on strong.

They want to connect with suppliers and make sure that they have the best prices and the best deals; they want to see what new brands and products could be in their stores and give them an edge in the market; they want to network with their peers and see what they could be trying; they want to be in education sessions and ensure that they are using best practices in all areas of retail.

Hats off to the New Hope trade show folks for putting on great events!

A standing ovation to the retail community for taking advantage of them!

(After Anaheim and Vegas, you know I’m looking to Boston!)

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