PROVIDENCE, R.I. (BRAIN)—Preliminary figures indicate close to 700 retailers attended Interbike's first OutDoor Demo East last week in Providence, Rhode Island.
More than 60 exhibiting company's booths, product displays, demo products and staff stretched across more than 60,000 gross square-feet of exhibit space in Roger Williams Park.
"In hosting our first regional demo-style event, we had great support from exhibitors and strong attendance from east coast retailers," said Andy Tompkins, Interbike's show director. "Whether I was visiting a seminar, checking the trails or chatting with exhibitors in the expo area, attendees were pleased to see that OutDoor Demo East shared the same energy, festival-type quality and bottom-line value the industry enjoys and appreciates at the OutDoor Demo in Nevada."
Presented by SRAM and Jamis Bicycles, Interbike OutDoor Demo East saw strong attendance from New England and Mid-Atlantic states, as well as retailers from Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin to name a few. Retailers from as far away as California, Florida and Oregon were also in attendance.
"Given the cost and time associated with taking an entire staff to Vegas for Interbike, I was pleased at the opportunity to attend OutDoor Demo East," said Lee Rogers, owner of Philadelphia-based Bicycle Therapy. "It was valuable for the staff to test product and then meet up immediately to share feedback with each other. Between the demos, clinics and industry party, Interbike identified the most important elements of a demo event and created a great package that my entire staff could participate in."
Brad Hill, owner and president of Goodale's Bike Shop in New Hampshire, said his employees came back from OutDoor Demo East with rave reviews.
While only Hill and three of his staff were able to attend the 2008 Interbike Expo and OutDoor Demo events in Las Vegas, he was able to send 16 of his employees to attend OutDoor Demo East.
"Without a demo event local to the east coast, a fair amount of my employees would never be able to attend a trade event," said Hill.
"We saw a lot of dealers we didn't see out west," said Steve Thomas, national sales manager for Jamis Bicycles. "It was good for us to get New England and Mid-Atlantic dealers under our bikes. They are an important market for us and they carry different categories and selections of bikes than western United States retailers do. We also brought our marketing and product development staff to OutDoor Demo East, so they could optain feedback from the attending dealers. It was definitely worth it for us to attend this event."
Besides trying product from manufacturers like Cannondale, Felt Bicycles, Fox Racing, Giant, Mavic, Pedro's, Specialized and SRAM, retailers also attended the Super Seminar series hosted by the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA) in the Roger Williams Park Casino.
"Holding our East Coast Super Seminars in conjunction with Interbike's OutDoor Demo East was very successful," said Fred Clements, NBDA's executive director. "Dealer participation was incredibly strong with standing room only in all of our seminar sessions. It was great that Interbike and the participating suppliers brought the Demo to east coast dealers, and we look forward to partnering with Interbike next year."
In addition to the NBDA seminars, Fox Racing Shox, Mavic and SRAM also offered technical product clinics to packed audiences during the two-day event.
"Despite very cold weather that affected attendance on the last day of the show, suppliers and retailers seemed to be very pleased with the event," Tompkins said. "We need to get back to the office and discuss how we can make the event better. However, based on the feedback so far, it looks like the industry needs the event, so it will be on the calendar next year."
(PHOTO courtesy of Interbike.)