Gibsonton, FL - The annual IISF Gibsonton Trade Show "Extravaganza" concluded Saturday as previously posted on MCW. Organizers reported a total attendance of 14,075, up almost 750 people over 2006 figures of 13,330.
MCW talked to the vendors, many of whom reported doing close to record business. Waterloo's Joe Burum was one example saying "I don't know what the attendance figures were, or how they compared to other years, but I can say we were swamped every day from noon to six. If we didn't set a Gibtown record it will be darn close." Other vendors echoed the same sentiment "Our sales were up this year and we got an excellent response from our new items. We had a great time and look forward to next year's show", said Joe Iacona, President of Gloworks Imports.
Other vendors, while wishing for some additional t
raffic, reported sales at least even or better than last year. Gold Medal Products' Bo Wilson said the show "could use more traffic but the people that came, bought." Marty Zinder of Victor Products said "each year gets a little better".
Ride manufacturers were somewhat divided on the show's success this year. Victor Wisdom of Wisdom Industries said that while the trade show staff was courteous and helpful, "he would like to see more traffic." He has been exhibiting at the show since the late 60's. Zamperla's Ramon Rosario also said that sales were "not what they used to be." On the other hand, Kevin Dalton of Dalton Kid-Rides was exuberant "We rocked and rolled ‘em. It was our best show since 1999."
MCW interviewed many of the vendors and we have compiled a list of who sold what and their reaction to the show. While not every vendor is listed, we were able to reach most of the major exhibitors.
- Jim Ziaja said the Remix II on display was being delivered to Ray Cammack Shows and they sold another Remix II to Mike Featherston of Gold Star Amusements. Ziaja said they could have sold even more had they had earlier production dates available.
Rides 4 U
- Nancy Buckley said the show went "very well" for the company. "Everything was sold with the exception of one ride we brought", she added. The Traffic Jam ride went to Ray Cammack Shows, Bill Reiss of Blue Sky Amusements bought the Mini-Pirate, the Circus Train went to Playworld Amusements, the Super Trucks to Paul Maurer Shows and the Dog Ride to Fantasy Island Amusement Park in Long Beach Island, NJ.
Wadkin's Expo Wheel
- The wheel on display went to Pride Of Texas Shows and the previous wheel was sold to Brown's Amusements. Wadkins reported one deal pending and lots of interest and positive comments.
- Fabbri's booth was the highlight of the show with their new Family Swings being erected during operating hours. Jeff Miller reported that the ride came down in a little over 5 hours. The first ride was sold to Tim & Pam Casper of P.B.J. Happee Day Shows. Miller said two other sales were made, one for another swing and one for different ride but the shows' names could not be disclosed at this time.
- Scott Kunz said Galaxy had sold 40 safety message and music repeaters and a brand new photo system to Reithoffer for their spinning coaster. Butler Amusements also purchased two new systems.
- Not lacking for business in his booth, High-Lite's Mike Howard reported brisk sales and let us know where he was sending them. Davidson Amusements bought a Fair Wheel, as did Reithoffer Shows. Tim Krise purchased the Scat II on display as well as the Festival Wheel and the Trackless Train. Al Belmont of Wizard's Festival Of Fun purchased the Chair Swings as did Bobby Perkins Darren Cushing and Bobby Webster. Blue Sky Amusements purchased a Fair Wheel they are awaiting delivery on. Howard said 2007 was "one of our better years here" and he was still waiting on a couple of pending orders.
-- Despite, our best efforts, we could not get sales information out of Waymatic's Brian Risner who was determined to keep his clients confidential despite reports of several significant sales. Waymatic has been exhibiting at the show for 36 years and said 2007 was a great year with good contacts.
- E.J. Dean reported brisk sales for his game manufacturing business. Jakes Inners purchased a football game, as did Dale Negus and Bob Perlum of N.A.M.E. Long Ranges went to Danny Ottaway, Pete Katz, Jim Parks of Davis Amusements Cascadia and Pat Davis of Davis Shows Northwest. Burton Bros. purchased a 20' Mini Ball, Paul Bury of Majestic Midways purchased a center trailer and Elizabeth Joseph of Jolly Shows purchased a 20' Break A Plate.
- Victor Wisdom reported selling two Tornado rides and a one truck Himalaya. He also delivered a Sizzler and Tornado to Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky. This is the 2nd Sizzler and Tornado for the park.
- Ramon Rosario, Director of Sales, said the company sold 6 or so rides at the show but could not disclose the buyers at this time. "Redneck" Ramon is the host of one of the most popular parties during the Trade Show. Rosario said Zamperla would be back at the trade show in a big way in 2008, debuting a brand new ride.
- Tovah Sellner reported selling 3 rides at the show, the details of which were still pending. There were two track rides sold and one spin ride as well as a possible Elephant or Bumble Bee sale.
- Jeff Swartz, President of Hitch-Hiker, said a lot of their discussion focused on 2008 production. He said that many shows were already planning ahead for the coming year. Swartz delivered a pizza and a French Fry trailer to Scott Chesley of New Hampshire as well as a Roadhouse Grill to Randy & Della Armstutz. Two trailers were delivered to the Florida State Fair, one for Richard George and one for Melissa Zaitshik. Gary Zaitshik's Extreme Ice Cream was already on display on the fairgrounds.
- Bill Fiarmonti, said his company, which sells luxury buses, sold one vehicle to an undisclosed buyer. Other sales may be pending.
- Michael Flanigan reported a sale to a Mexican buyer and lots of other interest at his booth. "You can never tell what you sold until the next show", he said. The company has a positive outlook for the year.
Bob's Space Racers
- Tony Cassata of BSR said the company had a "great show", selling several group games and midway games. "Spending was very good and we had a good mix of people, East Coast, West Coast, Mid-West, small shows and large were all spending", he added. Tony said the show was definitely headed in the right direction and he had over 30 emails about the seminar he gave on games that were extremely positive. "The seminars are a great addition, they give the customer a reason to come for multiple days and learn about the issues that face our industry", said Cassata. BSR had a strong January and a strong trade show and was now concentrating on getting the products delivered to their customers.
The Extravaganza is not only for vendors but also for the ride and concession owners who use the IISF convention as their primary means to browse for and purchase equipment.
Pal Fontana and Rick Reithoffer of Reithoffer Shows were busy buying at the Extravaganza until closing time. They said the carnival is a strong supporter of the trade show. Rick's father had been down with the flu during the week and wasn't able to attend. "Mr. Reithoffer usually buys the most rides at the show", said Fontana, "so Rick decided to fill in for his Dad and maintain the tradition. We have made several purchases today." Fontana, who is returning as assistant general manager of the Orange Unit, said Reithoffer purchased a Wisdom Himalaya and a Full Tilt ride from A.R.M. They also bought 10 new umbrella tops from Waterloo and 40 new benches and were looking at a few more items. "If they (the manufacturers) didn't have these rides at the show, we wouldn't have made the purchases", said Rick Reithoffer. "This is the place where we look and we buy".
IISF Trade Show Photos