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CABDA show sells out of exhibitor space

Published January 29, 2015

CHICAGO (BRAIN) — Those with doubts as to whether Chicago dealers could pull off a trade show in early February may need to re-think that position. Organizers have had to expand the show floor twice and have sold out their exhibition space.

Jim Kersten, president of the Chicago Area Bicycle Dealer Association, said in an email sent to BRAIN that an early forecast that CABDA would attract 35 exhibiting companies has now been revised upwards to more than 50.

“We were aiming for 100 dealers and we are now at over 160 shops and just over 500 badged shop attendees,” said Kersten, who also doubles as show director.

Retailers from eight states in the Midwest have signed up, he added. Those states include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Kentucky and Michigan. The two-day expo will be held mid-week Feb. 4-5 at the DuPage Expo Center in  St. Charles, Ill.

Kersten, who owns Edgebrook Cycle & Sport in northwest Chicago, said earlier that organizers wanted to keep the show a low-cost event, held at a time and place that exhibitors and retailers can easily reach.

Organizers have signed up companies like SRAM, Shimano, Thule, Todson, Sigma, ABUS, Waterford Precision Cycles, as well as distributors like J&B, Lexco, Olympic and others. (For a complete list go to the association's website.)

“We’re bringing a preseason, dealer-oriented show back to the Midwest,” Kersten told BRAIN when he first announced the revival of the CABDA show. “Part of the focus is on seminars and for shop staff to see some new product,” he said.

Many Midwest dealers no longer take staff to Interbike, and a regional show in the off-season gives sales staff a chance to see products and attend technical seminars, Kersten said. Many Midwest dealers also attend QBP’s Frostbike open house and expo, which will be held Feb. 20-22.

At one time CABDA was a major stop on the trade show circuit and was held in Rosemont, Ill., not far from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. But a variety of management and financial issues ended the show and fragmented the Chicago dealer base.

CABDA, as a dealer association, re-formed several years ago, and its meetings during the off-season have been attracting upwards of 40 dealers. Exhibitor move-in is Feb. 3.

For more information, contact Kersten at (616) 214-9467 or by email at jim@cabda.net.

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