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John Reitman

By John Reitman

Is there something to learn from the Equip Expo?


A record amount of square feet has been reserved for this year's Equip Expo in Louisviille, Kentucky. Equip Expo photo

A few months ago, there was a question whether the green industry still had an appetite for national tradeshows.

With more than a month to go before Equip Exposition, the show formerly known as GIE+Expo already has sold all of its exhibit space.

According to the Equip Expo web site, the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, where the show is held each fall, has 675,000 square feet of exhibit space and room for more than 1,000 vendors.

"This is a first for Expo: Every inch of exhibit space inside the KEC and outside in the newly expanded 30-acre Outdoor Demo Yard has been reserved," said Kris Kiser, president & CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, which owns Equip Exposition.

“The sellout shows the vitality and excitement around Equip Exposition.”

This year's show, scheduled for Oct. 18-21, appears as though it will be a hit with attendees and vendors alike.

For the first time ever, the show has sold out the entire exposition center and nearly 1,000 vendors have bought space. Sandwiched around a Covid-canceled show in 2020, Equip Expo attracted about 24,000 attendees in 2019 and again last year. With record booth space sales, at least that many are expected this year.

That is a sharp contrast to this years GCSAA Conference and Show in San Diego where attendance of 6,500 (and reportedly only about 1,000 golf course superintendents) was off by about half compared to historic averages of pre-Covid shows.

There might be some things that can be learned from the Equip Expo. Travel restrictions, flight delays and cancellations and Covid protocols were cited by many who opted not to attend this year's GCSAA show. In the first half of 2022, 20 percent of all domestic flights experienced delays of 15 minutes or more. That's double the number of delays from 2020. 

In contrast, the former GIE show is within a day's drive of 70 percent of the country's population.

GIS and the former GIE are apples and oranges, but there is a big difference between routinely flirting with record attendance and rented booth space and not flirting with anything for more than a decade.

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