Why I Was Wild About IWF

By Rich Christianson | Posted: 09/07/2012 11:40AM


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.

CWB, Closets, Custom Woodworking Business 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.

Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo 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.

Wood Tech Summit 2012 logo 3. Our events in Canada, including the new three-conferences-in-one Wood Tech Summit, Oct. 22-23, 2012 in Vancouver, BC, and the Woodworking Machinery & Supply Expo (WMS), Oct. 24-26, 2013 were well received by representatives of the Canadian woodworking supply industry.

4. As the Official Videographer of IWF, Woodworking Network recorded and posted more than 25 videos live from the show fkior, including sponsored videos of IWF exhibitors and interviews with IWF participants at the Woodworking Network Innovation Soundstage. Check out WWN's IWF videos.

5. Throughout IWF, Woodworking Network sent out a steady barrage of show news through Twitter, Facebook, WoodworkingNetwork.com and ClosetsDaily.com. In addition, we kept readers who attended, as well as those who did not attend up to date through our daily e-newsletter.

International Woodworking Fair lumber veneer wood components hardware 6. Our dominance of IWF coverage was also made evident by our pre-coverage and post-show coverage. Leading up to IWF, Woodworking Network put out three special digital editions, including: IWF Challengers Awards preview; IWF Supply Innovation Guide; and IWF Technology Innovation Guide.

The bottom line: Woodworking Network demonstrated how and why it is North America's leading wood products industry media at North America's leading industry show. This is further made clear by the vast amount of news, products and videos posted in our IWF News Channel. I dare anyone to prove other wise.

We remain interested in receiving your feedback of IWF 2012. Click here to take the WWN IWF poll, post a comment and view the results.

Recent blogs posted by Rich Christianson

Woodworking Industry Reawakens at IWF 2012 8-27-12

All Systems Are Go for IWF 8-10-12

A Titanic Woodworking Mystery Surces at WWN 8-3-12


Read more of Rich Christianson's blogs.

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About the Author

Rich Christianson

Rich Christianson is Associate Publisher and Editor at Large of Woodworking Network. During his 25+ years covering the wood products industry, Rich has toured hundreds of manufacturing plants throughout North America, Europe and Asia. His reporting has covered everything from the state of the industry and impact of wood imports to technology and environmental issues. In his current capacity he is responsible for editing the daily Woodworking Network Update newsletter and coordinating events including the annual Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo and Canada’s biennial Woodworking Machinery & Supply Expo. He can be contacted at rchristianson@woodworkingnetwork.com or follow him on Google+.

Read more of Rich Christianson's blogs.

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