An Intriguing Trade Show Scene

by WOHe

The trade show scene in the kitchen and bath industry has gotten
a little more crowded and a whole lot more intriguing now that the
dust has fully settled from April’s K/BIS in Orlando.

The reason? Recent announcements regarding the launch of two new
trade shows aimed at a kitchen/bath market that’s still vibrant,
still growing, still attracting compelling new players . . . yet
somehow is still not being served in some important way by K/BIS,
at least in the eyes of the shows’ organizers.

The new events, scheduled to launch late this year and next, are
as different in their goals and approach as night and day.

One of them being called The Luxury Kitchen and Bath Collection
will be aimed at delivering an intimate, boutique-style event for
an “overlooked” high-end niche whose unique characteristics,
organizers contend, are currently not being addressed.’

The second show a far more broad-based initiative known as ISH
North America is being promoted as a North American version of the
massive European plumbing products show ISH, and will be aimed at
providing an annual event that embraces such industry sectors as
heating, ventilation, air technology, plumbing supplies, kitchen
and bath products and building automation.

Despite their differences, however, the new show ventures
contain at least one key common thread: They’re either owned or
will be marketed by the Davis Peterson Collaborative LLC, a
Dallas-based company formed recently by Todd Davis and Alan
Peterson, two executives who were once closely associated with
K/BIS.

Davis and Peterson young, energetic and hungry are movers and
shakers who bring a lot to the table. And their presence alone
should make the new shows worthy of note.

Until several months ago, when he joined Peterson in the
formation of their company, Davis had been a v.p. at Miller
Freeman, Inc., where he headed the operation of magazines Web sites
and trade shows including K/BIS in the building, real estate and
design industries. Peterson had been group director of Miller
Freeman’s Building Group, and was responsible for the daily
management, financial control, marketing and sales activities of
K/BIS and several other properties.

Those types of resumes, of course, provide Davis and Peterson
with a keen working knowledge of the kitchen and bath industry.
Their background also provides them with two other assets that are
invaluable for trade show launches: contacts and
relationships.
Clearly, Davis and Peterson will be attempting to leverage their
experience and relationships in developing the new shows.

It remains to be seen, at this point in the game, whether that
will be enough to persuade exhibitors from abandoning K/BIS,
splitting their allegiances between the shows, or adding to their
expenditures at a time when they’ve been clamoring for fewer trade
shows, not more.
In other words, it remains to be seen if manufacturers and
specifiers will view these new ventures as serious and valuable
options, or simply as well-intentioned dreams.
Other questions, too, remain to be answered. For example:

  • Can K/BIS continue to maintain its growth and stature as the
    premier industry event if it’s surrounded by other shows that
    whittle away at its potential base of exhibitors and
    attendees?
  • Can the European-based trade show producer Messe Frankfurt,
    Inc. take its successful formula for ISH, and apply it to North
    America in a show that attempts to merge kitchen/bath products
    including cabinets and countertops with products typically aimed at
    plumbing contractors?
  • Can the new shows really make a go of it as separate entities,
    or are they being conceived to eventually co-locate with K/BIS in
    one all-inclusive, consolidated industry event that meets the needs
    of everyone?
    For now, what’s clear is that the industry has more choices and
    that is good. K/BIS, which marked its 20th year in April, is an
    extraordinary show. It will be interesting to see how the industry
    responds to other options now that they’re available.

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