Upon returning from the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago, I wrote that it seemed like the “woodworking industry awakened from its Great Recession-induced coma.”
Right around the same time those words were written, I posted an online poll and invited readers to rate how IWF measured up to their expectations.
After omitting responses from those who did not attend the show, fully 45% indicated IWF either “wildly exceeded” or “exceeded” their expectations versus 16% who indicated IWF “failed to meet” or was “a major disappointment.” The remaining 39% fell right in the middle, noting that IWF “met their expectations.”
While I headed to Atlanta brimming with optimism that IWF would be a good show, I still left being one of the 10% whose expectations were “wildly exceeded.”
Based on my myriad four-days-worth of conversations with woodworker attendees and exhibiting suppliers, I would have thought that even a higher percentage would have shared by wild enthusiasm. This is especially so, considering how the economic crisis negatively impacted IWF 2010.
Why was I wild about IWF 2012? For starters, as I said in my previous blog, it was refreshing to see my industry colleagues and especially our customers acting chipper, taking leads and writing orders at their booths. Rewind to two years ago and so many of the conversations bogged down on how awful business was and how much the show had shrunk in size and attendance.
While it was great to see the industry getting back on its feet, IWF also proved a pivotal show for Woodworking Network. Let me count the ways.
1. Customer reaction to our announcement at IWF that Custom Woodworking Business (CWB) and CLOSETS magazine will merge beginning this November "wildly exceeded" our expectations. As we explained in our announcement, the two publications will converge as a "flip book;" CWB will open on one side and CLOSETS on the other allowing each brand to retain its separate identity and unique content.
2. Dovetailing with the above announcement, we were thrilled with customer feedback to plans for the new Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo, Feb. 27-March 1, 2013 in Edison, NJ. With more custom cabinet companies doing closets and vice versa, we feel the event and the co-joining of CWB and CLOSETS, is right for the times and it was clearly appear-ant that industry suppliers who sell to customers on both sides of the aisle concur.