Gibsonton, FL - As the 2013 IISF Trade Show and Extravaganza drew to a close on Saturday, February 8th, some were tearing down and rushing to catch flights, others were still catching up with old friends and still others were making last minute deals on rides and equipment.
In fact, from manufacturers and suppliers to trade show attendees and buyers, there seemed to be an almost universal sense of optimism at the show this year. People were buying. Some were buying in large amounts, others in not so large amounts but the good news was most were buying.
Larry Yaffe of Firestone Financial, a major industry lending institution, confirmed the mood of the show this year. He reported that "demand was good" and business "steady". Yaffe actually became a bit of a supplier this year when Firestone partnered in a new photo booth venture displayed at the show. The Face Place booths are versatile and purchasers can use the logo of the carnival or fair for pictures. It even has a social media option where the customer can tweet or put their picture on Facebook from the booth itself. Yaffe said they had sold five units at the show where they offered no interest and no payments on new purchases until October.
Gary Otterbacher of Lifetime Products also had a good year at the show. Formerly in the food trailer building business, Otterbacher now build bunkhouses and living quarters. Kyle Brady, Brandon Petree, Eric Bates and Roger Swyear all had new units on display at the trade show.
Otterbacher commented that he was now selling to the grandchildren of some of his former customers. "When I broke in I sold to a customer, then his sons and daughters and now in some cases to the grandchildren of that customer", said Otterbacher.
Zamperla had some rides on display at the trade show, recalling their large displays of former years. Zamperla reported a sale on closing day to bring its totals to 3 Mini Tea Cups, 3 Happy Swings and 2 Lolli Swings. The company declined to reveal the buyers but said both rental companies and carnivals had made purchases.
Next to Zamperla was Battech where a Zero Gravity ride going to PBJ Happee Days Shows was on display.
Not far from these two companies, Dalton had a Down on the Farm kiddie ride that was going to Roger Wadkins of Sherwood Amusements. Kevin Dalton said the company "had a fantastic show." "We are very, very happy", he added.
In addition to the ride on display, Strates Shows purchased two complete rides, All Around Amusements purchased a motorcycle ride, Blue Sky bought a trailer mounted Quad ride, Wagner's Carnival bought a tractor ride, Rosedale Attractions purchased a reconfiguration of ten trucks, Fiesta Shows reconfigured a trailer to a 10-sweep tractor ride, Swank's Steel City Shows also did a reconfiguration to a 10-sweep ride, Snyder Amusements did the same with one of their older rides and Schmidt Amusements bought four tractors for replacement vehicles.
The company also had various orders for parts and replacement equipment.
Strates Shows had their name on a couple of rides in the Wisdom booth as well. Both the Jungle Twist and the Truck Stop were reported to be headed their way. The Rampage, a refurbishment for Rick Larson, was being dismantled and Victor Wisdom said he had quite a few leads and some orders to work on when he returned to Colorado. "People are talking and I hope some good will come from it", said Wisdom.
Next to Wisdom, A.R.M. had Power's Great American's Rock Star was on display and the ride's presence at the event" helped make some sales", said Mike Gill of the company. A.R.M said they had a good show but declined to disclose the name of buyers.
The company is looking forward to the roll out of their new ride, the Frenzy in 2013.
Tommy Coffing of Usedrides.com, human barometer for the industry, said the show was "awesome". Coffing had his Puppy Roll ride on display. The ride is rebuilt from a Sellner spin ride. Coffing was taking old trailers in for $15,000 in trade and selling the new piece at the show for $77,500. That price rises to $89,000 after the show.
Coffing reported sales to Clint Payne of Missouri and Harold Fera of Rockwell Amusements.
Coffing sells mostly used rides but also a few new pieces from select some manufacturers.
Coffing sold a Wadkins Wheel to Ed Inners, a Power Surge to Penwood Shows, a Fredricksen Slide to Pete Zorlenzon, an ice cream trailer to Jerry Schoup, 2 RBD bunkhouses to Cliff Deggeller and Michael Parks, a used Marathon 5th wheel to Tanner Reinke, 2 popcorns, one to Fred Robertson in CA and a second to Steve Lisko of Premium Shows of America. Another bunkhouse was sold to Clayton Metcalf and a 2012 pickup to Coleman Concessions.
The largest outdoor display was once again produced by Rides 4 U and their various partners. Len Soled said his company's party at the Fredricksen winterquarters drew about 1,000 people for the food and festivities. Soled said people were very appreciative and the weather for the party and almost the entire trade show was "phenomenal".
Soled did have a major business announcement during the show, revealing a partnership with Peter Theunisz of KMG in usedrideseurope.com. The goal of the new company is to sell used European rides in the U.S. market. Theunisz knows the landscape in Europe and can inspect the equipment for sale while Soled has the contacts for buyers here in the U.S. With KMG looking at 2014 deliveries, the market for used Speeds and Freak Outs has become very hot, with a few sales pending at the close of the show.
On display in Soled's boothm the Mach 1 rides were going Ray Cammack Shows and North American Midway Entertainment. A third ride is going to a new indpendent, Bill Prescott.
The Groovy Bus on display was going to Luehr's Ideal Rides with a second version of the SBF ride going to World's Finest Shows. The Visa Flying School was going to Beauce Carnivale with a second to Al Belmont Productions.
An old favorite, the S&S Power Frog Hopper, was going to Alpine Amusements with a second to Murray Brothers.
Visa's Puppy Love ride was claimed for Campbell Amusements with a second model being delivered to Playworld Amusements.
The final ride, a Flying Elephant had some interest and deals were pending as of our publishing deadline.
Rides 4 U represents Visa/SBF, KMG, S&S Power, Fredricksen and Maxtron lights, keeping the company and its booth very busy.
Soled also sells used rides and light packages. He closed a deal on a Chance Giant Wheel, sold a used Yo-Yo to Mike Featherstone and a used Sea Dragon to Premium Shows. He also installed a Chance Century Wheel LED light package for Pat Davis of Davis Shows, a package for an Eli 16 for Ray Cammack Shows and they are finishing lighting for a new 500' tall Intamin Tower going to the Texas State Fair.
Soled has also made agreements with manufacturers for his lighting packages. Majestic Manufacturing uses Maxtron lighting on their new equipment.
Soled said the show and the LED business has been strong, especially for wheels and drop towers. His company does not sell individual lights but rather does complete installations for amusement rides.
Soled and many of the other manufacturers and suppliers were pleased with business sy the 2013 trade show. Most reported steady but relatively thin traffic compared to days gone by but those that came this year were buyers.
The Deggeller Family: Jamie, Evelyn, Cathy and Andy
Debbie and Jason Helm of Helm Amusements
Jared Davis of RideParts.com poses with his award from the IISF Trade Show
Bob Johnson (left) of the OABA poses with Chris Atkins, 2013 Showmens League President, and Joe Burum, SLA Secretary.
CLICK HERE to view the 2013 IISF Trade Show Photo Gallery