Gibsonton, FL - Day four of the IISF Trade Show was hampered by unseasonably cold weather and a steady rain all day long. Vendors and trade show visitors crowded inside the buildings where most remained for the balance of the day.
Due to the inclement weather, we concentrated on many of the indoor booths, looking at stock manufacturers and suppliers as well as concession and ride suppliers.
Sippers By Design started in the business by selling plastic fruit-shaped cups to Busch Gardens. The cups were filled with juice drinks and displayed on carts over ice at the company's theme parks.
From this beginning, the company has expanded its line and offers hundreds of novelty and customized cups for events, facilities and amusement parks. In 2010, SBD developed a big cup for King's Dominion to help launch their new coaster, the Intimidator. They also have a custom cup shaped like the space shuttle for the Kennedy Space Center.
At fairs and events, company president Lisa Dominique said the alien cups, hurricane cups and lemonade barrel cups are the hottest items in her inventory.
SBD has its sales office in Miami and warehouse in NC where they keep 90% of their items in stock all year. The company does lots of custom work and can sell in-stock items in quantities as small as five cases.
Stock manufacturers also were featuring the items they believed will be a hit on midways this year. Here is what some companies believe will make the cash registers ring in 2010:
Kelly Toy - The Hot Dog, Samba the tiger, Furry Monkey and Monkey with banana are all selling well along with super hero capes.
Fun and Fun Toys - Based in Texas, they have been in business 16 years and sell to many of the major carnivals including RCS, Wade Shows, Murphy Brothers, Talley Amusements, Crabtree and Lowery said Kathy Qui of Fun and Fun. Hot items this year include the I Love You Bear, the Banana and the Money Bear. Her Rottweiler Dog line is also very strong as it has been for the last several years
Good Stuff - Specializing in licensed professional sports items. Good Stuff sells plush, jerseys, flags and balls. As usual, the current top teams are always the best sellers
Rhode Island Novelty - Peter Quinn of RIN said glow swords continue to be hot. Blue swords remain strongest but the colored swords are also selling very well. Quinn said he has had several clients turn their duck ponds at night into prize every time games for the teenagers featuring glow products. So far, the results have been very good. Also hot this year for RIN is their large knobby balls.
The team from Triangle Poster had quite an adventure getting to Gibtown this year. Pittsburgh had a terrible snowstorm last weekend so flights were canceled last Saturday and Sunday. Finally able to get out on Sunday, they took three flights instead of a direct flight. Pittsburgh to Raleigh, Raleigh to Charlotte and Charlotte to Tampa was the path they took. Leaving at 6 am they landed between 5 and 5:30 pm. They then began setting up their poster booth, staying until after midnight to finish the task.
They are not the only vendors and attendees who faced trouble getting to Tampa, with many stuck in snowed-in cities around the country.
Across from Triangle Poster, Victor Products was being awarded the "most Impressive" booth award. The well-appointed booth, selling concession supplies ,won because of their excellent and attentive customer service according to Jim Otterbacher, Trade Shows chairman.
Connie and Tommy Tyler of Urethane Associates sells new and reconditioned wheels and bushings for all types of amusement rides. They sell wheels for kiddie coasters, bushing for car rides and steering wheels for kid's rides. They also make mallets for Hi Strikers as well as the pads to bang the mallets on.
Quick Fuels is attempting to service the carnival business by providing fueling sources for carnival trucks and generators throughout their route. Triche Collier of Quick Fuels said she has clients already in place that give her their route and she then arranges fueling services for their events at a pre-arranged price. The show does not have to pay drivers for fuel nor do they have to give cash to drivers for an over the road move.
A bar code is placed on each generator and truck that is scanned when the equipment is refueled. Records are kept throughout the season, making IFTA reports easier without the mess of attaching individual receipts each week.
Satisfied customers include Belle City Amusements and Arnold Amusements.
The Wizard is back in action with his Wizard Show Painting and Wraps. Wizard said he was named a Top 50 mural artist by International Artist Magazine. The Wizard has taken 10 of his classic designs for carousel horses and is offering them as a kit for wrapping the horses.
The decal set is laser printed and cut ready to go on the horses. The kit comes with DVD instructions.
The cost for a decal set for the horses is $115 which Wizard says is considerably cheaper than the standard $150 per horse most painters charge for basic artwork. The horse must be prepped by the show and hooves, manes and basic paint coat administered before the decals are applied.
Wizard is also making cornices available in the $60 range.
See a video of the decal process below:
Mary Talley of Talley's Amusements was at the show doing some business for the upcoming season. Talley's recently wrapped up at their hometown Fort Worth Stock Show where they battled bad weather. Only 2 of the 24 days of the event turned out to be nice so the results were "disastrous" according to Talley. Last year the show broke all records at the event.
Talley made a bevy of new ride and equipment purchases and refurbishments recently. She purchased a like new Majestic Quadzilla from a park, bought a new Hampton ATV, refurbished an Alan Herschel pony kart, wet boat ride and Midget Racers and completely reworked two Hamptons, a car ride and a gator ride.
Talley plays many of the largest festivals and events in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and her family operates the Texas Star at the State Fair. The company had six rides at the Texas State Fair in 2009, the Mega Drop, Wave Swinger, Fast Traxx Slide. Tea Cups, Bear Affair and Kamikaze.
In addition to their regular route, Talley takes their Drop and Slide rides to play the independent midways at the San Diego County Fair and Ventura County Fairs in California.
Sippers by Design
Kelly Toy's new hot dog plush
Capco Custom Builders - game trailers, bunk houses, and more. www.capcocustombuilders.com