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2010 Gibtown Extravaganza Trade Show Dates Announced
Show keeps dates during the second week of February
By Ron Weber, Editor
Photo courtesy of Matt Cook
Gibsonton, FL - The International Independent Showmen's Association (IISA) announced that their annual Trade Show and Extravaganza would be keeping the same dates as in 2009, running February 9 - 13 in 2010. "There were a lot of positives for keeping these dates", said Steve Ianni, IISA president. "President's Day weekend gives everyone an extra day to wind down and people are set up and ready in Tampa so they have more time for the show", he added.
Ianni said the organization was very happy with the results in 2009, especially given the economic fears throughout the country. The show reported almost 12,000 in attendance, approximately equal to 2008. There were 27 new vendors present in 2009.
One of the new vendors at the show in 2009 was The company specializes in licensed sports merchandise said company president Ed Bush. Bush said traffic for the show was "very good, better than expected". He reported dozens of leads to follow up and hoped to return again in 2010.
Tovah Sellner is someone who believes the trade show is very important for her company. "I wouldn't miss it for the world", she says. She observed that traffic may be slower than in years past but "all you need are a few that are buying".
Sellner also observed that the business had changed dramatically over the years. "Twenty five years ago we only made one red ride (the Tilt-A Whirl)", she said. Today however, customers want custom tubs, custom colors and special light packages, all making for a longer buying process.
Sellner had several rides on display for delivery including a Tea Cup for Andrew Evans, a Bumble Bee for Deltus Mitchell and a third ride for Dana Peck of Midway Rides of Utica.
Sellner said the company was doing especially well with the new Tilt-A-Whirl cars and she was hoping to turn many of the leads generated at the show into future sales.
Fajume, makers of the Wacky Worm, was another vendor who was making a big splash at the show. They had on display their new copter ride which they sold at the show to Deggeller Attractions. The ride occilates and travels in circles, giving the feel and sound of a real helicopter ride. The attraction holds 20 adults and sells for about $250,000.
In addition to the new helicopter ride, Fajume also sold a Wacky Worm to R.F. Hauser and a second to Todd Armstrong, Armstrong Shows.
Bob Rodewald was very happy with the results for CMD Enterprises, the company selling Fajume products in the U.S. "This is a show where they buy stuff", he added.
Perhaps no one in the industry has their pulse on the industry better than Tommy Coffing of usedrides.com. The company provides a valuable service marketing used rides, selling new rides and assisting in financing of equipment new and used.
Coffing is an industry veteran who has been through good times and bad. "The show has been good", he said adding, "we had our best collection season this past fall".
Coffing has been busy selling the New Wiggle Worm rides made by Majestic Manufacturing. He said 12 of the rides have been sold and numbers 13 and 14 are holding pending confirmation after the trade show. R.C. Cole of Cole Shows Amusement Company purchased a ride as did Tim Coleman said Coffing.
In addition to the Wiggle Worms, Coffing sold a Terry Curl Gladiator ride to Whitney Westphal and a corn dog/lemonade to another buyer. He also sold a Wadkins Expo Wheel to Patrick Imes, Oscars Amusements.
"The used market is great", said Coffing, pointing to the 15 used rides he moved this past January. "It's going to be a great year", he concluded.
Marketing inflatable attractions and small, portable rides, Fun Attractions was moving some equipment during the show.
They had on display their "All-in-One Amusement Park", a 66 foot inflatable that is decorated on both front and back . They also had a "Hard Rocker" ride on display which sells for $32,000 and can be set up in 20 minutes.
Customers for 2009 include Circus Hollywood, Drown The Clown, Brady Concessions, Royal Rides, Tolve Presentations, Calliope Productions and Zorbini Circus.
The ride generating the most talk during the trade show was the Drag Strip Mega Slide from Wisdom Industries which was delivered to Frank Zaitshik's Wade Shows in West Palm Beach.
The company also debuted their Windsurfer ride, the first of which was sold to Butch Butler of Butler Amusements.
Victor Wisdom said they had taken some leads and were talking to people about the number two slide and the number two Windsurfer ride. Jeff Miller of the Fabbri Group was also reportedly close to closing a deal on a new slide.
Rides 4 U
The winner of the "Largest Exhibitor" award at the show was Rides 4 U with eight rides on display. Selling equipment used and new from several manufacturers, the company wanted to especially thank SBF for their help during the show.
Rides 4 U sold seven of the eight rides they had on display at the show and they were hoping to close a deal on the last ride at show's end. In addition, Soled said they had sold "a number of used rides". One deal involved the sale of the spinning roller coaster from Cypress Gardens theme park.
Buyers from the Rides 4 U booth included the Kredrowitz family who purchased a portable tea cup, World's Finest Shows and Amusements OF America, purchasing Hog Wild rides, a circus train was sold to D.C. Lynch Shows, the Air Show was sold to Toy Store Amusements with a second to Ace Tent, the Hillbilly Express Train was sold to Tommy's Midways with a second model to Amusements Of America, the swing ride was also sold to Tommy's Midways and the Mini Jet was sold to a park . Soled also sold a Zaperla Samba Tower to Canada's Beauce Carnival.
In addition to the SBF pieces, Soled said he had 4 or 5 deals pending with the KMG line. Soled was good naturedly kidding KMG rep. Peter Thieunz that KMG needed more output so he could move more rides from the popular line.
Soled stressed the importance of the show to his business and its integral role in the industry at large. He observed that of the 150 rides he sells, almost every ride sold was a model he brought to Gibsonton.
Ride manufacturers were not the only ones doing business in Gibsonton. Trailer manufacturers also reported optimism among show attendees. Tom Nuttal of Carvans Unlimited was happy with the results from the show and was surprised to find that Saturday turned out to be a very good day for his company.
Trailers sold for 2009 and beyond include a popper for Jim Christman, a funnel cake for Dave Matthewson, a popper for Tammy Snyder and a corn dog for Rochelle Waknitz. In addition, Nuttal said he had an additional deal pending.
"In a word positive", was how Jeff Swartz of Hitchiker Manufacturing described his trade show experience. Swartz had three trailers with large marquees and some with L.E.D. lights on display. R.D. and Tracy Thomas had a Cotton Candy, Debbie Powers had a funnel cake trailer and Cresecent City Amusements had their new grab on display.
Swartz said he was able to finalize many orders at the show and took several new orders, filling out his 2009 season. He said he also took some deposits for 2010. His customers were looking forward to a successful 2009 based upon the success they had in 2008.
Swartz was most excited about a new announcement he would be making in mid-summer 2009. Describing the new innovation as "huge", he promised the industry would be "talking about it for years to come". While Swartz was not forthcoming with details, the man who revolutionized concession trailer marquees in the past is someone to watch again in the future.
As the 2008 Gibsonton Extravaganza came to a close, most vendors seemed to agree that traffic had slowed over the years. Reasons for this varied from shows bringing less people to the event to the rise of technology and a year-round sales season.
While there may have been less people than at the show's height, most vendors, when reviewing their business at the event, reported excellent sales and contacts. The trade show gives them ample time to meet with customers and potential customers, renew old friendships and develop new ones while putting a face to a name of someone they may have spoken to during the year.
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