LAS VEGAS, NV (BRAIN)—After a near-death experience in Denver following years of decline, the trade show for specialty fitness retailers seems to be recovering now that it is coupled with Interbike. (Click on story title and then "Visit Link" to view the digital version of Show Daily #3).
“New life has been breathed into the Health and Fitness show, in my opinion,” said Ryan Simat, vice president of sales for Octane Fitness. “A lot of manufacturers did not present last year. A lot of dealers didn’t show up last year.”
Simat said that about 85 percent of Octane’s retailers came this year, compared to 40 or 45 percent in Denver. “That’s a dramatic change,” he said.
The HFB show ended its two-day run yesterday in the Venetian Ballrooms, around the corner from the main Interbike exhibition.
“We didn’t show last year, and I was glad that we didn’t,” said J. Stephen Wilkins, president and chief executive officer of BH North America. “This year, I’m glad that we did. It’s definitely been a good transition for us.”
Fitter First founder Louis Stack rated the show “9.9 out of 10.”
“The traffic was night-and-day different [from Denver],” Stack said. “I think having it in good venues and keeping it linked to Interbike is a dream come true for this show.”
Andy Tompkins, director of the Health and Fitness and Interbike shows, was happy with the turnout.
“For a first year experiment, we really didn’t know what to expect. We’re extremely pleased,” Tompkins said. “It seems to me like there was a buzz. The brands are extremely happy and indicated that they would come back.”
The main complaint from HFB exhibitors was being separated from the Interbike show floor.
“We got this impression that we were going to be part of Interbike, and here we are, isolated in our own room,” Simat said. “That was one negative impression that I had and several of our customers had. They were anticipating us all being in the same room together.”
Tompkins said combining the two shows would be feasible next year when both move to the Anaheim Convention Center.
“That is part of the initial plan, and I think that would make more sense to both audiences,” he said. “The initial plan is that we would offer [Health and Fitness] a three-day show as well.”