PALM BEACH, FL â The fourth annual CLOSETS & HOME ORGANIZATION CONFERENCE & EXPO was a resounding success from the opening general session attended by more than 300 industry professionals on Feb. 27 through the final bus stop of the post-show plant tours on Feb. 29. In between were a wide variety of high-octane educational sessions, plentiful networking and a record Closets Expo in terms of the number of exhibitors and display space at the Palm Beach County Convention Center.
Nearly 2,100 manufacturers, specifiers of closet, garage and other home organization products, and leading industry suppliers, participated in the unique event organized and produced by CLOSETSmagazine. More than 350 of the attendees took part in all or parts of the Closets Conference, co-sponsored by CLOSETS and the Association of Closet and Storage Professionals.
The expo floor featured a record 127 exhibitors whose displays covered 20,000 net square feet of display space. This year's event also included an expanded "Extreme Garage" pavilion. Two bus-loads of closet professionals participated in the optional plant tours to a pair of high-tech component operations: Operation 32 and Doormark Inc.
"The vibrant, up-beat attitude of those attending the Closets Conference & Expo was in sharp contrast to the general dour mood of businesses dependent on a healthy home construction and remodeling market," said Rich Christianson, associate publisher of CLOSETS. "It was refreshing to see industry professionals come together at one space and time with a strong desire to learn how to improve their careers and businesses. They are positioning themselves to not only take advantage of the next economic upswing but to make their own breaks."
"This event just keeps getting better and better each year," said Laurel Didier, vice president and group publisher of the Industrial Division of Vance Publishing Corp. "The attendees are passionate about their businesses, as evidenced by the enthusiasm they exuded whether they were checking out products on the expo floor or asking questions at one of the education sessions. They are very serious about wanting to expand their knowledge and grow their businesses."
Diana Augspurger, newly elected president of the ACSP, said, "There was such a great energy about the event, as though someone turned on extra lights. The entries for the Top Shelf Design Awards were beautiful and there was real product innovation on the expo floor. It's a clear indication that closets are just as much about design now as they are about function.
"The seminar topics were about real growth issues, such as running a lean shop and how to build business in a down markets - hot topics for entrepreneurs today," Augspurger added. "All our feedback was enthusiastic. While the ACSP is always interested in ideas for new topics, we really feel we hit the nail on the head this year."
The fifth annual CLOSETS & HOME ORGANIZATION CONFERENCE & EXPOâ¢ is scheduled for March 18-20 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center in Schaumburg (Chicago), IL. For information about exhibiting, sponsorship opportunities or attending, phone (630) 434-7779 or visit www.closets-expo.com.
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