01.14.11 | Bullish Dealers Write Orders, Save Dollars At 2011 ATA Trade Show
INDIANAPOLIS - The 2011 ATA Trade Show attracted a business-ready crowd of more than 8,000 industry professionals last week, with archery and bowhunting manufacturers reporting heavy booth traffic and order-writing.
The annual event - held Jan. 6-8 in the Indianapolis Convention Center - boasted a record-sized Show floor featuring 513 exhibitors who rented 167,550 square feet of space, including a record 55 shooting lanes, 11 more than in 2010. In addition to booth space occupied, there were 2,989 dealers, buyers and distributors on the Show floor during the three-day event. Like last year, the ATA will unpack the Show numbers and release a complete registration report featuring a breakdown of attendance numbers, exhibiting trends and geographic attendance patterns. The report should be finalized later this month.
"It was gratifying to see the strong response of the industry's dealers, buyers and other folks who came to Indy," said Jay McAninch, ATA CEO/president. "When every company comes together in one city, under one roof, business opportunities are maximized and the cost of doing business is minimized. The ability of our industry to unite and get to work deserves applause and a thank you to each company represented at the Show this year."
Bob Miller, owner of BKIII Archery in Waterford, Wisconsin, said dealers truly cannot afford to miss the Show. "The Show has been great for us," he said. "The amount of money we're able to save by attending allows us to stay in business."
One of the broader goals of each Show is to strike a balance between bringing back those Show features that benefit member companies, while allowing the Show to evolve and adjust as industry needs change. This year, attendees relied on the proven online registration platform introduced at the 2010 Show and the ATA express pass kiosks, Big Buck Tags returned to deliver discounts to dealers, while serving as a marketing beacon for participating exhibitors. Meanwhile, for 2011, the ATA introduced the interactive floor plan and directory, You Are Here, and the well received Beer and Gear Exchange.
"I think that's one of the things the ATA staff and Board always come back to," said Kurt Bassuener of Mike Wieck Sales. Bassuener also serves as the Trade Show's committee chair on the ATA Board of Directors. "We can't get stale, we have to gather feedback, be considerate and thoughtful based on what we hear and act on what we learn. Our industry has always been good to guide and speak up about what they're after. So the clues were there for us to act on and, based on how our members embraced You Are Here and the sizable crowds at the Beer and Gear Exchange, the Show benefited from member feedback and we'd like to think our members benefited too. Now, the challenge is to refocus, emphasize this approach for 2012 and deliver."
On the order-writing front, manufacturers at the Show reported increased optimism from archery-shop owners visiting their booths. "We had a lot more dealer traffic in our booth, and in talking with them you sense the economy is rebounding," said Ben Guttormson, a national account manager with Black Gold. "You sense that if you're a dealer and you made it through the past couple of years, the sun's on the horizon. They're well-organized, know what they want, and they're here taking advantage of the Show's deals."
Brian Park, co-owner and president of Strother Archery, said his company wrote more orders and signed up more dealers than anticipated in their second year at the Show. "We took out a 20-by-30 booth because we had so much traffic last year," Park said. "We made sure we could accommodate even more dealers this year, and we succeeded."
Isaac Aleman, sales manager for Badlands Packs, said, "We were constantly busy writing orders. This is one of the better shows for dealers. We picked up some new international accounts and met a lot of Eastern dealers. That's important for Western companies like ours."
The deals weren't a one-way street. Steven Wagnitz, president of Lakewood Products, and Aleman were just two of many exhibitors and retailers who snapped up specially priced hotel rooms the ATA arranged near the convention center.
"ATA's hotel discounts definitely help," Wagnitz said. "We stayed right across the street at the Hyatt, and could walk over here without going outside. You can't beat the price or convenience."
Lisa Endicott, co-owner of the Bow Rack archery store in Springfield, Ore., said she has learned to book their hotel room as soon as the ATA opens registration. "The rooms go fast and you can see why," she said. "The ATA rates allow you to stay in hotels that are nicer than what we'd normally stay in. You can't beat the prices they negotiate. We haven't even paid for taxis here because we took advantage of the airport shuttles."
McAninch said the ATA is now focusing on the Show's return to Columbus, Ohio, Jan. 12-14, 2012. "We're working hard with the Columbus folks to ensure next year's Show is just as successful for our members," he said. "Indianapolis always sets the bar high, and it's our job to make sure all host cities make the Show pay dividends for our members."
For more information about the 2011 ATA Trade Show or information about the 2012 ATA Trade Show in Columbus, please call (866) 266-2776 or e-mail