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CABDA show preps for third run in St. Charles

Published October 19, 2016

ST. CHARLES, Ill. (BRAIN) — The Chicagoland Area Bicycle Dealers Association show is growing in size to fit companies interested in exhibiting at the February show, which is set to return to the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, a suburb about an hour outside of Chicago.

The CABDA Expo runs Feb. 1-2 and will take up about 50,000 square feet in the Pheasant Run’s Mega Center. To date, some 80-85 exhibitors have signed up, according to Jim Kersten, president of CABDA and show director.

Retailers can register to attend for free up until a week before the show. Registration will open up Nov. 1. Onsite registration will cost $20 to cover badges.

“When we first started doing this, it was mostly sales reps with booths. They would get product shipped to them and set up a table,” Kersten said. “The following year it was sales managers with bigger booths. Now everyone is bringing more stuff and picking bigger spaces and I’m dealing with corporations now who are sending in the contracts.”

Timed in the middle of the week — Wednesday and Thursday — Kersten expects to draw as many as 2,500 attendees from 400 to 500 shops this year. Last year’s show attracted some 1,500 attendees from 370 shops. Most retailers who come to CABDA are from Illinois and neighboring states with Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan accounting for about 60 percent of retail attendance. But Kersten said he was surprised by the number of retailers who traveled from as far as Minnesota and Missouri last year.

Companies pay $750 for a 10x10, and get discounts with additional booth spaces, and because the Pheasant Run is a non-union resort, exhibitors don’t incur traditionally high costs for booth set-up or drayage. Hosting the show in Chicago would make it too pricey, Kersten said. As a nonprofit, the dealer group prices exhibit space to break even and to have enough money to reserve the space for next year’s show, he added.

“When we looked at venues, I wanted a place that was non-union because it locks out a lot of small companies who can’t afford it,” Kersten said. “There aren’t that many convention centers that were large enough so we don’t have many options. A lot of them, too, have particular vendors you must use for everything.”

With all the changes recently announced by trade shows — Taipei Cycle moving to October and Eurobike moving to July in 2018 — Kersten said he doesn’t plan to change dates anytime soon.

“We’re going to stay in February. If we made it later we could add a demo component and get some larger bike brand interest, but the later we go, the less turnout I’ll get from dealers,” Kersten said.

CABDA has signed up a few newcomers this year including Jamis Bikes, which is taking a large 10x60 booth, and Park Tool. And some companies, like Haibike, are growing their booths. The German e-bike brand booked a 20x20, up from a 10x10 last year.

Changes to the show for 2017 include a more streamlined retail seminar schedule. SRAM and Shimano will once again offer tech clinics and Haibike will host e-bike training. CABDA will continue to host a vendor party Tuesday night and an industry party Wednesday night.

For more information on CABDA, go to www.cabda-expo.com.

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