The fourth and final day of the 2014 IAAPA Trade Show concluded Friday with sparse crowds. Some manufacturers were closing last minute deals, while others were busy counting down the hours until it was time to dismantle their booths. Despite the low attendance on Friday, the 2014 show posted the best attendance numbers in 17 years with over 30,500 attendees, 19,400 of which were considered buyers.
Len Soled's Rides 4-U was a prime example of an exhibitor who had a terrific show. "We had a great show and sold a lot for all of our vendors", said Soled referring to the four companies his firm represents including SBF/Visa, KMG, S&S, and eWorks Pro. "Carnivals were well represented and a lot of them brought their families to the show. We probably saw just as many carnival customers as parks", Soled described of the crowds. Rides 4-U sold over a dozen of the Compact Spinning Roller Coasters to parks as ground models and three trailer mounted versions including one to Butler Amusements, Gene Dean's Fiesta Shows, and Paul Mauer Shows.
As reported earlier, the company sold several Drop n Twist rides from SBF/Visa earlier in the show including sales to All Around Amusements, Beauce Carnival, and Tommy's Amusements. An S&S Frog Hopper was sold to Campy's Amusements and a second model to Barry Jameson's World Finest Shows. Majestic Midways purchased a Groovy Bus and Butler Amusements purchased the Pirate Mini Jet on display outdoors.
Rides 4-U will be represented at the Showmen's League Exhibitors Lounge next month in Vegas and will be at the IISF Trade Show in Gibsonton in February displaying a trailer mounted Compact Spinning Coaster, Drop N Twist, among others. "Gibtown is a very important trade show for our industry and we will continue to support it" said Soled.
Showmen's League of America
Brother of incoming president, Paul Kasin, Peter Kasin was busy walking the show floor working on deals for his concession business and also coordinating plush donations for the club's annual Christmas Party for kids in which he co-chairs with Alpine Amusement's Donnie Massie III. The annual Christmas Party will be held on December 5 with two shows beginning at 8am at Hanson Park Elementary School. On December 4, the club will host a regular meeting at the club's headquarters followed by a dinner and preparations for the party.
"We are pretty secure on toys this year. We have donations from many plush and novelty companies, with a large donation from Ideal Toy who has been working with us for the past 10 years" said Kasin. "If other companies are not able to donate, Ideal usually helps make up the difference". Kasin extends his appreciation to all of the companies who donate to the party as they could not do it without them.
Eric Bate's Ohio based ARM reported that the company had a nice show this year. "The parking lot was full every day, so it should have been a good year for everyone" Bates joked. ARM is currently selling equipment with a 2016 delivery date and was sold out for 2015 coming into the show. On display outdoors at the trade show was the company's new Frenzy ride. The ride on display played the entire Bates Brothers route for a season in order for Bates to observe the ride and see how it performed before selling it to any clients. The one on display will be leased to Wade Shows for the South Florida and Florida State Fairs with an option for the show to purchase it. "If we don't sell it, we have several interested parties or it will play the Bates Brothers route again next year. The next delivery date for a new Frenzy is May of 2016" Bates said.
The Rock Star and Vertigo rides have been extremely popular the last couple of years. Currently, ARM is converting Funtastic Shows Inverter into a Rock Star and also upgrading Fantasy Amusement's Ali Baba to the Rockstar theme. "Shows have seen a 15-20% increase on the overall gross of the ride when upgrading to the Rockstar theme" said Bates.
Updating older rides has been a trend in the industry, and ARM has taken advantage of that by taking customer's older equipment in and updating it to today's standards. Last year, ARM retrofitted a Quasar with a electric drive, new lighting, paint, graphics, and the whole works. The ride has recently been sold to Wade Shows.
"The Quasar is how I got started in the manufacturing business" said Bates. In the early 1980s, Eric wanted Chance to build him a Flying Bobs without a top for his show. When Chance declined to make a topless bobs, Eric found the Quasar manufactured by ARM UK in England. He imported the piece for his show and it caught the eye of Bingo Hauser of West Coast Amusements. He soon sold the piece to Bingo and ordered another for himself. In a span of a couple of years, Eric helped sell over 15 Quasars all manufactured in England. With the cost to transport the ride to the US, ARM built a manufacturing facility in the USA to help save on shipping costs. In the early 1990s, ARM UK Went out of business and Eric began building rides exclusively under the ARM name in the Ohio based facility.
ARM will have a table top display at the SLA Exhibitors Lounge in Vegas next month and will have a tent set up in Gibtown. ARM will be showcasing its Frenzy at the Florida State Fair and will not have any equipment at the trade show.
Galaxy Amusement Sales
Galaxy co-owner Scott Kunz was excited about a new LED product line that the company is representing called Camaleon. Camaleon is a well known LED brand in Europe and has been used for years on the European market. "We wanted to find a proven product and we didn't want to experiment with different Chinese manufacturers" said Kunz. Galaxy will be selling a variety of LED products from the company including fully programmable systems, auto programmed 1-16 bulbs, and standard screw in style replacements.
A new product that the company will be selling is LED video boards that work off a F9 high resolution LED pixel. The square boards come in small sections and can be put together similar to Lego building blocks to build a larger screen. Galaxy is in the midst of development of a circular video board that will be on display at the Gibtown trade show. "The circular boards will work well for the center decoration on Century Wheels and Giant Wheels" said Kunz.
Ross Owen and family had a good trade show, making several connections and left the show Friday with some pending orders for spring delivery. The company has several fun houses in production at their California based plant including a Monkey Maze for Carnival Americana, another for Talley Amusements, and a Surf Shack for Blue Sky Amusements which will be on display at Gibtown. The Surf Shack will have no spiral slide, but will have a small bridge on the bottom level similar to the company's Wacky Shack.
A new custom piece the company is working on is a Cuckoo Haus for Drew Exposition called the Black Forest. The Black Forest is a custom name and theme Jim Drew came up with and will feature a custom LED System from Denny's Electronics and custom artwork on the front.
Patty Sullivan's Eli Bridge reported a good year of selling Wheels and Scramblers. Sullivan recently delivered two wheels to Scheels Sports Store, which brings the total number of wheels owned by the retail chain to eight. "Scheels is a wonderful company to work with. We have wheels in their Omaha, Fargo, Billings, Sioux Falls, Springfield (IL), and soon their new store in Overland Park, Kansas".
Sullivan has adapted a new technology to their existing Eli Wheels to ease the need for a skilled operator to properly balance the ride when loading and unloading. The company has built and converted several wheels for parks that operate with a touch pad. When the operator loads a car, he clicks 'next' on the touch pad and the wheel rotates to the next seat to properly balance the ride.
Sullivan is also excited about a new project the company is working on. While she was not ready to release details on the project, she said the company was working on plans for a new portable adult ride. "We are currently seeking a good engineer to help with the design of the piece". She hinted that they may have more details come February when the company exhibits in Gibtown.
Chad Griffith was excited to display his company's latest offering of LED lights at the trade show. His company specializes in a high quality 1-16 auto programmed LED bulb and recently developed a new program for it. "We came up with program B to give our existing customers a new program but to also apply some new high end special effects to compete with the custom systems currently on the market" said Griffith.
The program was written himself and features over 8 minutes of sequences complete with a new processor chip. The bulbs require no controller and run off 24vdc and require only two wires to run, which makes installation simple. They are available in a turbo version or a modular unit.
Overall, IAAPA was a great turnout for CMD. "It's nice to touch base with existing customers and see how their projects from the season turned out and have the opportunity to discuss future projects" said Griffith.
The company recently updated its web site and offers detailed product information and videos of the product so that customers can see exactly what it does before purchasing. There are even photos of rides with his product in use as well as videos of the bulbs on the rides.
Merino Colorado based Wisdom Rides closed the show with several deals in the works and was happy with how the show turned out. "The show had great traffic the first couple of days, but slowed down later in the week" said Victor Wisdom. While he didn't want to discuss any purchases at the show, Wisdom did mention several rides in production including a Gravitron themed Centrifuge for Wade Shows and Luehrs Ideal Rides, a Monster Truck for Wade Shows, and two Sizzlers, among several other rides. "The Monster Truck has been extremely popular" said Victor of their new hit children's ride. "It has performed very well for our customers". As usual, Wisdom will have an outdoor exhibit at the IISF Trade Show in Gibsonton this February. The company plans on bringing Luehrs Idea Rides Centrifuge and possibly a Sizzler for display.
The 2015 IAAPA Expo will take place November 16 -20, 2015 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. At the time of closing on Friday, over 195 exhibitors already signed up for booth space for the next show.