irreverent, thought-provoking analysis of the industry-- with an
occasional guest columnist.
The CLN Interview: Steve Berger, CEO, Craft
& Hobby Association
Answering questions about the move to Orlando.
by Mike Hartnett (July 28, 2008)
(Note: Brenda is head of Brenda Pinnick Designs and
by Mike Hartnett (August 4, 2008)
(Note: At the recent Summer Show in Rosemont, CHA
announced that the show would move to Orlando in 2009, immediately
followed by a consumer show. Because rumors began to spread
regarding the details of the shows and CHA's reasons for the move,
CLN interviewed Steve Berger.)
Pt. I: The Summer Trade Show
CLN: What are the dates for the 2009 Summer Show?
BERGER: The dates of the 2009 CHA Summer Convention &
Trade Show are July 28 - 30. Show dates have been altered to run
Tuesday - Thursday to attract more buyers to the Show and avoid long
CLN: Why move the show from Rosemont?
BERGER: CHA is tasked with growing the CHA Summer Show and
increasing member benefits for attending. Rosemont has hosted the
Summer Show for over 20 years. There had been a steady decline in
the numbers for the ACCI show. When ACCI and HIA unified, the new
entity, CHA, took over the summer show and for two years, it grew.
(4 - 5% increase in exhibitors; 40% increase in pre-registered
But within the last two years there has been a decline of
exhibitors and 8-10% in attendees. In 2008, the Summer Show
attendance was down by almost 7% and exhibitors down by more than
13.5%. The CHA staff has done a good deal of research over the past
few years (including surveys sent out after the summer shows to
exhibitors and buyers) to solicit member feedback on viable
alternatives to Rosemont.
CLN: Isn't it possible that the Summer Show simply reflects
changes in the industry, rather than a problem with Rosemont?
BERGER: This is possible, but changes in the industry would
also impact other shows like the CHA Winter Show, which has not
witnessed the dramatic declines that the Summer Show has. The
easiest thing for CHA to do is to do nothing, but we are tasked with
growing the show and increasing member benefits for attendance. If
we do nothing we are not looking out for the best interest of the
show, the industry, nor our collective CHA membership.
CLN: Why Orlando instead of someplace in the Midwest? Won't it be
BERGER: Orlando is a destination location and ranks second by
Tradeshow Week magazine as the leading host city by number of
trade shows, share of market, and square footage. Other cities in
the Midwest were explored. As 60% of CHA Summer Show attendees
travel by plane to the show, having direct and international flights
available was a limiting factor for some venues.
Chicago and Orlando have comparable temperature ranges. As a
matter of fact, average highs in Orlando and Chicago range between
84 and 92 degrees, while average lows in Orlando and Chicago range
between 66 and 73 degrees.
CLN: Did you poll CHA members or study how many members live
within driving distance of Orlando?
BERGER: Yes, over the past few years CHA surveyed its members
and, based on member feedback from the 2006 CHA Summer Show
Attendee Survey, 40% of those interviewed rated Orlando as
either first or second choice of venues, if CHA relocated the Summer
Show. CHA also conducted research that found consumer craft spending
is highest in the South with $12.1 billion dollars, almost twice
what the Midwest consumers spent, $6.9 billion. CHA membership in
both Illinois and Florida was reviewed and found to be comparable.
There are 204 designated buyers in Florida versus 209 designated
buyers in Illinois.
CLN: CLN heard CHA is getting the hall for free. If so, are
those savings going to the exhibitors?
BERGER: While Orlando has offered significant cost savings
and financial incentives to relocate the show, we aren't able to
discuss the confidential details of the agreement. However, you
should note that our objective is to provide exhibitors with
comparable costs in Orlando. We are looking at hotel costs that are
the same or lower than 2008 rates in Rosemont.
CHA will be spending significant dollars to promote the shows,
and the savings from the hall can be used for this.
CLN: For exhibitors, how will the costs for booths, drayage,
etc., compare to those in Chicago? Is the convention center a
BERGER: Florida is a right-to-work state, which means that
the Orange County (FL) Convention Center works with both Union and
non-union vendors. For CHA it means that there are more things that
exhibitors will be able to do themselves without hiring assistance.
We anticipate that costs will not be higher than current 2008 fees
CLN: For attendees, what is the difference in lodging and parking
costs, and transportation to/from the airport to the hotels? Are the
hotels within walking distance of the convention center?
BERGER: In Orlando there are three hotels and hundreds of
rooms within walking distance from the Convention Center, the hotel
rates will be the same or lower than those in Rosemont in 2008, and
parking is secured at $10 for 2009 where parking in Rosemont for
2008 was $11 per day.
CLN: What about plane fares compared to Chicago?
BERGER: Initial reports are that airfare to Orlando is very
competitive with those rates to Chicago O'Hare. Individual fares
will vary based on point of origination, fuel costs, carrier, and
when tickets are purchased.
CLN: Did you sign a one-year contract? What happens in 2010?
BERGER: CHA is negotiating a one-year contract with a
second-year option if we meet certain growth criteria for the show.
As contracts are in legal review, we can't comment further on the
details. What happens in 2010 will depend on what happens next
summer in Orlando.
Pt. II: The Consumer Show
CLN: Do the trade exhibitors have to exhibit at the consumer show
immediately following the trade show?
BERGER: No. CHA Summer Show exhibitors do NOT have to exhibit
at the consumer show. Exhibitors have the option of exhibiting at
the Summer Show, the Consumer Show, both, or neither if they so
CLN: What will the cost be for booth space?
BERGER: Pricing and packages that provide the best value to
CHA members are currently being developed. We will have final
packages available in 2- 3 weeks.
CLN: Can the manufacturers sell product? Won't that hurt area
BERGER: The Consumer show will be open to all CHA members,
including manufacturers. While CHA can not dictate what exhibitors
do, CHA envisions and recommends that manufacturers host
make-it/take-it projects, and education and projects sheets that
avoid competition with retailers. Savvy manufacturers will explore
partnerships that best highlight their products and retail
partnerships to maximize product exposure to the general public and
drive consumers to local retailers.
CHA research shows that 57% of U.S. households craft at least
once a year. CHA research also shows that retail craft sales
actually increase in a market six months following a trade show
because the show inspires creativity and craft ideas.
We encourage all CHA members to use a long-term perspective on
what will benefit the industry as a whole to create consumer
interest and drive consumers to retail. CHA believes that this will
be amplified as CHA looks to reach out directly to the consumer with
a broad array of crafts and education, further driving consumers to
retail for the benefit of the entire industry.
CLN: Will manufacturers have to move from one hall to another
when the trade show ends?
BERGER: Not necessarily, but this is a good question and
currently under review. We will keep you posted on how this pans
CLN: If manufacturers exhibit at both shows, that means the staff
will be out of the office for a long time.
BERGER: If you keep the same exhibits people in Orlando for
both shows, yes, the staff will be out of the office for a long
CLN: Can area retailers exhibit at the consumer show?
BERGER: Yes, area retailers can exhibit at the consumer show
as long as they are CHA members and pay the exhibit fee.
CLN: Have area retailers promised support in terms of exhibiting,
consumer advertising, etc.?
BERGER: We are working with local retailers on promoting the
consumer show in a non-competitive way that will drive traffic to
stores and to the show. Local marketing plans are also currently
CLN: Can professional crafters who are CHA members exhibit and
sell their finished projects?
BERGER: CHA members who are professional crafters will be
able to exhibit and sell finished projects at the consumer show. We
are looking at show floor layouts that best facilitate the various
exhibiting needs of our members.
Pt. III: General
CLN: You have conference calls scheduled for members who have
questions. When are they and how can someone participate?
BERGER: That is correct. While all of the details are not
finalized, we want to address any and all questions, suggestions,
and ideas that members may have. To talk to me directly about the
CHA Summer Show move to Orlando or the Consumer Show, I've scheduled
several conference calls and opened them to CHA membership. One was
held last Friday, and the other three originally scheduled are
filled, but we will schedule more of them in September.
Limited space is available. Conference call participation will be
scheduled with pre-registration only and on a first-come, first
served basis. To be put on the mailing list for one of the September
conference calls, please email Tara Smith, Marketing Coordinator, at
or call 201-835-1223.
ANY CHA member who wants to participate will have the opportunity
to do so, either through additionally scheduled sessions or by
contacting Steve Berger directly at 201-835-1201, or email me at email@example.com.
(Note: Now that you've read the thoughts behind the move,
click on Industry Polls in the right-hand column and vote. If you
have questions or comments, contact Steve directly or send your
thoughts to CLN at firstname.lastname@example.org.)