SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA (BRAIN)—Two words sum up industry reaction to Interbike’s decision to return the annual tradeshow to Las Vegas next year: thank you.
A wide range of the industry expressed gratitude to Interbike on Wednesday for listening to the outcry over its plans to move the show to Anaheim on Aug. 8-12. On Tuesday, Interbike announced the show would stay in Las Vegas next year, taking place Sept. 14-16 at the Sands Convention Center with Outdoor Demo held at Bootleg Canyon Sept. 12-13. The show will remain there in 2012.
“I am ecstatic about the news on all fronts,” said Lance Donnell, president of Sinclair Imports. Donnell was an early proponent of the move, and gave Interbike his support months ago, but changed his mind after hearing from his European suppliers that they wouldn’t have new product ready in time. Many retailers also told him they couldn’t attend the earlier dates.
This year, Sinclair had 22 booth locations at the show representing four brands, but had it moved to August, Donnell likely would’ve halved that number.
He said Interbike was headed down a dangerous path by moving the show, as it would have further fragmented the industry with exhibitors downscaling their presence—or leaving altogether—over concern that retailers wouldn’t show up.
“Looking a little silly reversing course is a lot better than completely jeopardizing the entire future of the tradeshow, which is what I think was going to happen. I think it was smart,” he said.
Chuck Hooper, president of Seattle Bike Supply, said on Wednesday morning that he’d already received emails from two-dozen dealers saying, ‘They finally listened.’
“I think Interbike was probably unduly influenced by the wrong people, but hey, bottom line, I think they can do quick damage control by being responsive now and maybe make up for not being attentive to their customers. And your customer is your attendees and exhibitors,” Hooper said. “When you decide not to listen, people within a week’s time are organizing their own trade shows. I would be lying if we didn’t start thinking about it ourselves.”
Interbike announced its new dates and venue on two days before this year’s show began based on multiple surveys and feedback from suppliers, retailers and industry associations.
The change was supported by the National Bicycle Dealers Association, Bikes Belong and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association. Fred Clements, president of the NBDA, said he thinks Interbike made the right move on Tuesday. In the last couple weeks, the NBDA, which has a contractual obligation to support and endorse Interbike, had been discussing with Interbike management the level of disagreement among retailers and exhibitors with the early August dates, Clements said.
“I would hazard to say the NBDA’s involvement with Interbike was a factor in them choosing to go back…I think the NBDA has been pretty candid with Interbike by face to face communication that the dealer concern was greater than it anticipated,” Clements said.
Jim Mincher, who’s owned Two Wheeler Dealer in Wilmington, North Carolina, for 36 years, and has been attending Interbike since it started, was one of those concerned retailers.
Mincher usually brings three or four of his 15 employees to the tradeshow, but he didn’t want that many people out of the shop in August, typically the busiest time of the year. He was pleased to read of the switch back to September.
“I think it shows that Interbike cares about the dealers. They reversed their decision and that means a lot to go up and say, ‘Hey, it was wrong. Let’s change it.’ I think it shows commitment to the industry instead of making the industry follow them,” Mincher said.