Sales, mood up despite smaller turnout Print
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Tuesday, 28 July 2009 09:38 AM America/New_York

'Whole atmosphere' of show 'very positive' for suppliers and retailers


Although attendance was significantly down and the exhibit floor shrunk from last year, positive sales reports and an upbeat mood were the common verdict of suppliers, distributors and retailers at the show.

Mardel Christian & Education President Jason Green, a CBA board member, said: "It was a great show for us" and that it "exceeded expectations."

Joanna Price, director of marketing and promotions for New Day Christian Distributors, added: "We did fantastic. This is the best show we've had in years."

Price noted that the new VeggieTales Crocs shoe was "the biggest hit of the show for us." "We doubled our orders from ICRS in Orlando, Fla.," she added. "This was like Christmas in July."

Bob Taylor, CEO of Things Not Seen Clothing & Accessories, said the convention was "phenomenal." "I'm just blown away by how well we did in sales," said Taylor, who decided to exhibit at the last minute. "I'll definitely be in St. Louis for the next show. I can't wait."

Standard Publishing President Larry Carpenter said the company was "much more busy than last year," adding: "We've had tons of international business and interest."

Carpenter attributed the upswing in sales to a number of factors, including Standard's author event during the show that drew 250 retailers.

"We had so many retailers say that 'we appreciate you doing this because so many publishers were cutting back,' " said Carpenter, noting that Standard also received a boost from releasing new trade titles. "The retailers were rewarding us for giving them a good time."

David Lewis—director of sales and marketing for Baker Publishing Group, which had reduced its booth space by a third—said the traffic was better than expected.

"The mood was 200% better than expected," he said. "People were optimistic talking about the future. The whole atmosphere of the show was very positive, though that doesn't mean we will be going back to a bigger booth (next year).

"The low expectations helped make it seem so positive for sure," Lewis added. "We wrote some business but that's not been the main reason we come to the show for a long time."

First-time ICRS attendee Annette Rajskup said she placed a number of orders. "There's a lot to take in, but it's digestible," Rajskup, who started Hanford Bible and Gifts in Hanford, Calif., with her mother in December 2007, said. "I'll definitely go to the next one.

"If I have to, I'll close the store to be able to come," she added. "We are not in this battle alone."