W&WP September 2000



IWF 2000 Provides a Shot in the Arm

By Rich Christianson


The International Woodworking Machinery & Supply Fair was a great success. It provided a huge psychological boost for an industry beginning to doubt whether or not the good times will roll on much longer.

IWF 2000, held Aug. 24-27 in Atlanta, modestly established new records in the three most quantifiable areas: attendance, exhibitors and exhibit space. The verified total attendance of 47,119 included 29,260 buyers and 17,859 exhibitors. And while total attendance was only up 1% compared to IWF '98, the reported number of buyers attending IWF 2000 represented an increase of 6%.

The record number of buyers had their work cut out for them to cover the sold-out display area that featured 1,291 exhibitors and occupied 706,007 net square feet of space. (W&WP Senior Editor John Koski calculated that the four-day show was open for a total of 37 hours or 2,220 minutes. Any person intent on visiting each of the 1,291 booths had a mere 1.7 minutes to devote to each booth, including travel time between stops.)

Good Vibrations
The tangible records are all well and good but hardly begin to stack up to the strong business beat that pulsated throughout the Georgia World Congress Center and Georgia Dome. With few exceptions, exhibitors visited by editorial and sales representatives of Wood & Wood Products and sister publication Custom Woodworking Business, indicated they were happy with the traffic and elated with the buying mood of the woodworkers who visited their booths.

Those exhibitors we talked with declared IWF 2000 to be the best or, at the very least, second best IWF in recent memory in terms of leads, orders or both.

Business activity flourished in the main machinery halls, reflecting the willingness for wood products companies of all sizes to invest in the future growth of their operations at a time when recruiting skilled woodworkers is difficult for most and impossible for many. This desire to automate was further annunciated by the sold-out attendance of the IWF technical seminar "Profiting Through Automation," co-sponsored by W&WP.

While machinery is the magnet that attracts most buyers to IWF, exhibitors in the so-called "hardware hall" also indicated generating healthy numbers of contacts and contracts.

The true legacy of IWF 2000 will only be revealed by the success of exhibitors to convert their leads into sales. On this count, the November election, interest rates, housing starts, inflation, the stock market and other factors that conspire to influence the economy will have much to say. But rather than fret about what might be, let's take advantage of the positive business spin that IWF has put in play.

Laminating Seminar Reminder
Also on iswonline.com is the preliminary itinerary of Laminating 2000, the annual technical seminar slated for Nov. 13-15 in Chicago.

This year's program once again affords attendees the option of attending one or both of the seminars. "The Fifth Essentials of Laminate Flooring Seminar" is scheduled for the afternoon of Monday, Nov. 13. "The Third Annual Laminating & Fabricating Seminar," will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 14 and 15.

Each of the programs feature networking receptions with tabletop displays from leading suppliers to the industry.

For the most up-to-date information about the programs, visit www.iswonline.com.


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