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As crammed CABDA show opens, organizers announce larger venue for 2018

Published February 2, 2017
The Chicago dealer show will move to a 100,000-square-foot space in Schaumburg, Illinois, next year.

ST. CHARLES, Ill. (BRAIN) — With seminar rooms overflowing and the newly added second exhibition space at Pheasant Run Resort crammed full of exhibitors, Chicago Area Bicycle Dealers Association Expo president Jim Kersten announced Wednesday that next year the show will move to a 100,000-square-foot exhibition space in Schaumburg, Illinois, northwest of Chicago.

"There are companies walking the floor that I just didn't have any space for. And many of the larger companies want to bring larger booths next year and we don't have any loading docks here so they can," Kersten said.

"I love the quaint, small feel of Pheasant Run, but we outgrew it quickly. While we will be bigger next year, I don't think the feel of the show will change that much," he added.

At the end of opening day on Wednesday, event staff had printed more than1,100 attendance badges and Kersten thinks they will top 2,000 total by the end of the show on Thursday.

Many exhibitors noted they had talked to more people by the afternoon on Wednesday than they did during all of Interbike last year.

"It's much bigger than last year but it has the same feel. You really get a chance to have great conversations with shops. No one is in a hurry," noted Erick de Brun, Redshift Sports' co-founder. The company's suspension stem, aerobars and two-position triathlon seatpost were recently picked up by QBP, and the company also sells dealer direct.

While the company had regularly gone to Interbike, de Brun said Redshift is going to focus on smaller regional shows like this in the future because he believes they are a better value for the size of the company.

For Kellen Pagel, a Midwest regional manager for Saris, he noted that the show's timing was ideal.

"There is nothing happening at shops, so they can bring quite a few employees to the show. Our traffic this morning was quite heavy," he said. Saris recently purchased Bike Fixtation, a manufacturer of public work stands, pumps, and vending machines, and is planning a seminar at the show on Thursday introducing the products to shops.

It is Stuart Hutchins' first time at the show. Hutchins' company, HGNR, distributes Dumonde Tech lubricants. He notes that with about 200 exhibitors at the show, he stands out more than he does at larger shows. His only marketing outlay in the past has been the annual trip to Interbike, and last fall he attended Interbike's CycloFest in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"I've already had four times the traffic I get at Interbike. I like the smaller shows like this and CycloFest. For what I do and being able to connect with my dealers, this is perfect," he said.

Kersten said that not only has the expo grown quickly, but so has the dealer association's membership. While he originally thought the association appealed only to Chicago-area retailers, Kersten said CABDA now has one Canadian member and a few from neighboring states, as well as Illinois dealers outside of the Chicago area. He thinks membership will be close to 60 dealers this year.

"The show isn't the only draw for membership. It's more a regional thing, I think. It's close by and we share a similar market. And it's easier to get staff to these seminars than to ones farther away," Kersten said.

Next year's Schaumburg location will be about 10 minutes away from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and 30 minutes from downtown Chicago.

 

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