Gibsonton, FL - The weather held out again for a beautiful day at the IISA Trade Show. Parking lots were filled with cars and traffic was steady all day.
As day three progressed, information about purchases began to come to light. Vendors were generally very happy with the business but final numbers will not be known until the end of the show on Saturday.
Wadkins Expo Wheel, LLC
Roger Wadkins and his sons were examples of vendors who were optimistic about sales for 2008. Their Expo Wheel is a one-trailer attraction that has been very successful for the company.
Crescent City Amusements had their wheel on display at the show. The next two wheels were going to Randy Homeniuk in Canada this spring and Ricky Moore from Texas this fall.
Expo Wheel, LLC currently produces three wheel e
ach year said Roger Wadkins, Jr. The company is looking at the possibility of expanding production due to sales demand.
Roger Wadkins, Sr. said they had a lot of interest during the show and were hoping to close a couple of more deals by show's end. They are taking orders for delivery at the trade show next year.
In addition to the manufacturing business, the Wadkins own a carnival, Sherwood Amusements. They purchased the former Taylor and Sons Amusements and have now grown to 30 rides.
Majestic Manufacturing/Used Rides.com
Tommy Coffing of usedrides.com was very posiitive about the show so far. "They are not tire kickers, people are buying this year", he said.
Coffing reported 3 sales so far of his Wiggle Worm ride, built by Majestic Manufacturing. Tom Gaylin of Rosedale Attractions had his ride on display at the show. Other purchasers included McCafferty Amusements of NJ and Barry Jameson of World's Finest Shows. Coffing said he was hoping for 4 or 5 more sales before show's end.
In addition to the ride sales, Coffing said Sunbelt Capital's business had been brisk so far. "We just financed the Burton Brothers on their Swing-It purchase", he added.
Jeff Miller of the Fabbri Group was also optimistic about his company's prospects for 2008. "We have a new Mega Drop for NAME (North American Midway Entertainment) coming to Miami", he said. This will be NAME's second Mega Drop and both rides will be at the Dade County Youth Fair.
Another sale of note is a used 2006 Kamikaze they sold to Ray Cammack Shows. Miller called the ride "the most expensive Kamikaze ever built". The ride was originally built with every conceivable option. "It has platform lights, scenery upgrades and dozens of options", said Miller. "The ride is one of a kind", he added.
On display at the Fabbri booth in Gibtown is the company's Vortex attraction. It was sold to Corky Powers' Great American Midways. The ride on display has all programmable LED lights from Amusement Sales Inc.
This new generation LED light has 80 circuits and only two wires; 24 volt and common. The whole lighting system only draws 5 amps.
The programmability of the lights gives the ride dozens of settings and patterns said Miller. "They fade, do lighting bolts, switch colors, chase, reverse chase, they do it all", he said. Amusement Sales, Inc, can perform the programming for the bulbs or the programming module can be purchased.
The LED lighting package for the Vortex is a $36,000 upgrade. The versatility of the bulbs, savings in power and lower maintenance costs will result in an ultimate cost savings for the LED package.
Bob's Space Racers
The games business was another sector of the business seeing some sales at the show. The Whopper Water race was sold to Brian McAllister in Bulgaria. The Roll-A-Ball was sold to Beauce Carnivale, the Whack-A-Mole to Zamperla for their park in New York's Central Park and a Rising Water was sold to the PNE in Canada.
The value of the dollar has helped foreign sales. The company just returned from an international trade show where they reported good sales to the Middle East, Russia and India. In fact, Indian sales were predicted to surpass Russian sales of BSR equipment in the coming year.
Mike Lane, CFO of the company, said their business is currently 25% foreign and 75% US. "I wouldn't be surprised to see foreign sales move up significantly", he said. The best sector of the US market is the arcade business where new product upgrades and better distributors were helping to increase sales.
In addition to foreign sales, BSR is also converting Denny's Electronics games. A used Denny's game can be refurbished with Space Racer electronics, game mechanism and guns. All work comes with a BSR warranty and tech support.
Tony Cassata said the company was manufacturing a new gun for the gun ball games. "In the past, when the gun broke, it couldn't be fixed, these new guns are completely rebuildable", he said.
Cassata was also displaying some different item for prizes including guitars, bicycles and other "hard" items. "There has been a lot of talk about different prizes for games" said Cassata. "We took the guitars to the Canadian "A" circuit and they did very well", he added.
The success of the company's Whack-A-Mole game has also taken them in a new direction. Already partnered with Hasbro on a tabletop version of the game, Hasbro introduced a new Mole Tower game this fall. The game stands 42' tall and comes in two pieces. The digital game plays similarly to a Hi--triker.
Move U Freight, LLC
A new company catering to power only entertainment transportation has been formed this year. April Zaitshik, owner of Move U Freight, LLC said she has spent her entire life in the carnival business, owned concessions and moved trailers. She knows the difficulties associated with moving equipment and formed Move U Freight LLC to assist showmen.
"I am hoping to supplement my income by working from home and helping people get their shows moved", said Zaitshik. She says she will be able to save money for her clients by negotiating deals with drivers that will make the driver money and save the show money. "I work between the driver and the show", she said.
Zaitshik has been a safety director for a large carnival and has gone through several DOT audits. She says she know how to get a show moved and can help her clients with planning the moves and executing them.
Zaitshik places drivers and trucks with shows that need help being moved. She also has developed a relationship with Swift Trucking to provide extra trucks when needed.
"I have a good background with trucking", she said. "I know the importance of getting it there quickly, safely and cost effectively". Move U Freight can be reached at email@example.com.
Darrel Alton started out in the carnival business in 1993 when he purchased a laser tag game to book with carnivals and fairs. In 1994 he added a Virtual Reality ride to his lineup. The laser tag was 40 x 60 and had disco lights, specialized flooring and a beautiful canvas top. After three years traveling with carnivals and fairs, he sold his equipment and returned to his profession training car salesman.
In 2001 Alton ventured back into the business again, purchasing a rock wall and Euro Bungy with his young relatives. They operated again with fairs and carnivals, playing dates on the east coast.
After several seasons of booking these attractions, he was approached by a friend who had seen a hot new attraction. Alton loved the idea and Boogie Bodies was born. Boogie Bodies superimpose people's heads over a dancing body on a video screen. Alton developed an entirely digital system, replacing the analog prototype that had already been developed. With this technology he could drag the bodies under the people's heads and change songs and scenes more easily.
Alton started out booking Boogie Bodies like a concession, renting space and charging for play. He booked the Big E, Minnesota State Fair and several other large events. After a season of booking it on a "pay for play" basis, he had the idea to book the concession as a sponsored entertainment experience.
With his new business plan, Alton books the attraction with the fair and the activity is free to fair customers. He can handle 8-10 people at a time in a customized trailer and he operates 8 hours a day. He books the show at a flat rate for $1,500 a day.
As the day closed, other ride vendors were reporting sales they hoped to close on Friday. The IISA board was readying their 5 o'clock somewhere banquet held for the first time on the grounds at the Carousel Pavilion.
Check back tomorrow for additional updates.