Things are looking up for the International Woodworking Fair (IWF), taking place August 22-25 in Atlanta.
IWF organizers announced earlier this week that more than 10,000 people had already registered to attend North America's largest display of woodworking technology and supplies. Not only is advance registration running 40% ahead of two years ago, that number is only 1,000 shy of the total attendance figure of IWF 2010.
At least three factors stand out to me for IWF's attendance resurgence:
1. The economy, though, far from satisfactory, is much better than two years ago. Housing starts, a key economic indicator for cabinets, furniture, flooring and other secondary wood products, are on a 760,000-unit pace for the year. This is half of what most economists would consider a sign of a healthy U.S. economy, but it's still 30% better than the 586,000 homes started in 2010.
2. Two years ago, when the four largest woodworking machinery exhibitors announced they would not exhibit at IWF, a lot of attendees (and exhibitors) literally freaked out. The ensuing ruckus prompted many woodworking professionals to stay home. Fast forward two years and the opposite is the case. Biesse America, SCM Group North America, Stiles Machinery and Weinig USA each announced in March that they would display at IWF 2012. The return of these marquee companies has been a big lift for IWF.
3. Many woodworking pros who took a pass on IWF 2010 knew they could not afford to miss the show two rotations in a row.
Woodworking Network: Your Eyes & Ears at IWF
The Woodworking Network editorial team will serve as your second pair of eyes and ears. We'll be posting show news and videos on WoodworkingNetwork.com, ClosetsDaily.com and Facebook.com/woodworkingnetwork.
Be sure to stop by our booth #2429, home of the Red Carpet. Woodworking Network is the official videographer of IWF and will be conducting continuous interviews of attendees and exhibitors at our Innovation Soundstage. Click here to view a schedule of special activities planned at our booth.
I'm as excited as anyone about heading to Atlanta. This will be my 14th IWF. I can't wait to catch up with my industry colleagues and see what's new.
See you in Atlanta!
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