IWF Exhibitors Report Successful Event; Worth the Investment

September 4th, 2012 by DWM Magazine

As exhibitors and attendees alike are constantly evaluating what trade shows are worth their time and money to attend, those who attended the International Woodworking Fair (IWF) in Atlanta, recently say they were pleased with the end result. The biennial event targets the wood products industry and exhibitors showcase everything from doors, windows and mouldings to furniture, cabinets and other wood-related products.

Stiles Machinery was a notable absence from the 2010 event but decided to enter the event once again this year. Steve Waltman, vice president, said that was a wise choice.

“The show turned out to be the most wonderful surprise we have had in a long time,” he said. “What a testament to the industry … People probably cashed their frequent flyer miles or broke the piggy bank to get there.”

“The conversations were lively and introspective,” added Waltman, who also mentioned that the industry is seeing some changes when it comes to machinery purchases.

“We all watched this used equipment being purchased,” said Waltman, “But I think many people who did that were frustrated. They were forced to use out-of-date equipment and some people found used machinery to be an unmet promise. So they came to the show and said ‘if I am going to be one of the winners I am going to do something about it.’”

In fact, Waltman said Stiles sold 125 machines at IWF.

While Stiles had a mammoth display, David Harris, exterior segment product manager for American Renolit, said the company’s exhibit space was geared toward the furniture market. However, Harris took a tiny portion of that space, as he does each year, to show the exterior products the company offers, and says this was worth the trip as well.

“Some people said, ‘Oh we have been thinking of [expanding into] that,” said Harris.

He also reported that representatives of the large door and window companies were in attendance—and it wasn’t just those in the wood industry.

“There were a handful of vinyl guys that were there, surprisingly,” he said. “Some of these companies have a wood division.”

He also said the company is always looking for new prospects at any trade show, “but a big percentage of people we see at trade shows always ask us, ‘what’s new.’” “That’s a good thing for us,” he said.

Waltman acknowledged however that there weren’t as many attendees in the window industry as the door industry.

“Many are still struggling with housing starts,” he said. “That struggle kept them away, and the door people were a little more likely to attend.”

“Attendance was average for today’s standards,” added Harris. “For us it was worth the time for sure.”

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