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Thread: Decline at the Woodworking Show @ The Big E in W. Springield, MA

  1. #1
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    Decline at the Woodworking Show @ The Big E in W. Springield, MA

    Went to the annual Woodworking show at the Big E yesterday. I've noticed a steady decline in vendor attendance over the last couple of years. First and foremost, Peachtree left the scene last year, they took Jerry Cole from inline-industries and his great Dubby crosscut sled. They occupied 3 whole isles. Rather than filling the void with a good quality replacement like Rockler or Woodcraft, it seems they just spread out what they had. It was sad, the only good booth with a fun to watch a good sales barker was Grr-ripper from Microjig. I've been attending this show off and on for the last 30 years. I wonder if the advent of online sales is driving the decline of face to face shows. Anyhoo, just curious if anyone else attended and what your thoughts are.
    Last edited by Jim Kirkpatrick; 01-12-2020 at 11:22 AM.

  2. #2
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    Overall I was disappointed in the show.
    Some Blue Tools
    Some Yellow Tools
    And a Pet Grizzly
    ShapeokoXL
    Blue and White 50 Watt

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kirkpatrick View Post
    I wonder if the advent of online sales is driving the decline of face to face shows.
    I think youíve got part of it. Also, thereís less reason to attend a show when one can go to YouTube and watch a similar presentation of the tool or the manufacturer's own website and of course check reviews online and ask questions on forums or social media.

    Iíve never been to a show but honestly donít see a reason why I should go. Iíd probably be disappointed anyway.

  4. #4
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    "Back in the day", these traveling shows were one of the only avenues, outside of being lucky enough to have a local woodworking store, to actually see and touch tools, hardware and materials as well as experience expert presentations on topics of interest. That ship sailed a long time ago and many vendors who used to pay to be in the shows stopped doing it when the economy was rough and discovered the wonders of the Internet. Combine that with waning interest in hobbies like this, I'm actually surprised that some of these shows still happen. There used to be multiple entities scheduling them. I could be wrong, but I think "The Woodworking Shows" circuit is about the only one left. What's sorta sad to me is that most of my major machines were purchased in conjunction with a few shows...the manufacturer used "my" machines on the show floor and I picked them up at show-close and took them home. For a healthy discount.

    Even the big, "pro" focused events that alternate between Vegas and Atlanta took a major hit a number of years ago, but they have fortunately had a bit of a resurgence lately as the industry has recovered and all the new CNC type technology has come into play along side of more traditional big-iron and innovative hardware/techniques have evolved.

    I did go to a show in Secacus NJ in 2018, but honestly, aside from the great company of a fellow local woodworker/'Creeker for the day, there was little of interest to me there outside of the always-wonderful Lee Valley booth and the nice folks at Woodpeckers. I did enjoy two presentations on sharpening and wood species, but that kind of thing is easily accessible outside of shows, too. I seriously doubt I'd attend any in the future. I would love to attend the Atlanta show again sometime...I had a lot of fun there years ago, being a "Booth Babe" for a manufacturer one time and a contributing photographer for a major woodworking magazine and wandering "miles" of show floors to oogle so many things, big and small.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  5. #5
    I used to attend several woodworking shows .
    Finally decided to just attend the International Woodworking Show in Atlanta ,Ga. IWF.
    IMHO feel this is the best show , plan to spend at least 2 days . Highland Hardware used to send me coupons for the IWF ,for free admission.

  6. #6
    Ironically, computer and internet technology trade shows and such can't find venues big enough.

  7. #7
    You'll still find a few deals and few get togethers to make the show worth attending. I haven't been in a few years but still considered it.... e
    Even the "pro" shows are still taking beating as most companies now are the actual salesman for larger companies like SCM, CNC companies and more...

    Our companies bought ax well as sold equipment. That's how you get things cheap in the industry...
    Last edited by jack duren; 01-12-2020 at 11:59 AM.

  8. #8
    No dog in this fight but here are some observations as a sales rep who has done pretty much every IWF or AWFS show since 2003:

    -The industry is strong and the shows reflect this. In Vegas last summer, we had all hands on deck and could have used more reps at times. For example, Felderís booth for the IWF show this year will be the biggest in US history for our company.
    -The used machinery market is the one which is in decline and itís a supply-side issue. Since the post-recession recovery, the flood of used equipment sold through a long time ago. I have several professional contacts who specialize in brokering used equipment and basically, they canít get their hands on enough of it. As newer machinery with newer features comes out at more competitive price points, the gap between older machinery (regardless of price) and the new stuff makes used less appealing. Lots of shops willing to pass on used and rather pay for the new, since they know the business will be there.
    -Yes, the shows are increasingly moving toward the technology side of things but we still had a a ton of standard/classical machines in the booth, including little machines like a Hammer jointer/planer and edge sander. So, thereís something for everyone.

    Anyhow, I agree with Kent: IWF or AWFS should be on everyoneís bucket list (2019 AWFS pics for attention )

    Erik

    7CE71F21-5CCA-4357-8E1A-3DBA264D7764.jpgE11D9055-C8FA-4351-BD81-DF72A3120D57.jpg48C678A3-2373-4C57-B822-09F582515A3C.jpg
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  9. #9
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    It's my opinion that the hobbiest demographic has aged to the point where all the Grandpas have about all the machinery they will ever need. The younger crowd is just a fraction of the numbers of boomers in the past. Selling on little margin was still okay when they could sell the volume. Not so today. If you needed any tools and didn't buy them 7 weeks ago on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you just weren't paying attention!

  10. #10
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    I didn't even know there was a show coming up! Guess they're not reaching all the people they should be? Then again I may not have gone anyway as I'm not in the market to spend right now. I did used to attend the bi-annual shows down in Hartford, CT., when they still did them. They were actually pretty decent for what they were.

    JeffD

  11. #11
    Been to all but one IWF since 2000, but we aren't going this year. I recently closed the shop, plus it got to be a hassle to go. Our daughter used to work for a commuter for Delta. We would fly down on first flight of the day, take Marta to CNN center, have breakfast and walk across the street to the show. Check bags, do show, and take Marta to hotel. Repeat next day, and fly home third day. Now we drive 6-7 hours, stay on North side of town, and still use Marta to get to the show, then drive home on fourth day. Two days driving, and extra night's motel takes a toll, plus neither of us is getting any younger. We are both in our mid to late seventies. As for The Woodworking Shows, it's hard to believe Peachtree pulled out, as they used to own the show. After a couple years, only bought "trinkets" ( things that cost more to ship, than to purchase.) Closest show to here in Chantilly, which is the smallest show on the circuit. Charlotte show is closer, but never know till last minute if it's going to happen. Some years it does, and some it doesn't. It's always an after thought. Have two great local wood working stores, so that's where I go when I need something. Do love going to the FREE seminairs at The Wood Working Show

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kirkpatrick View Post
    Went to the annual Woodworking show at the Big E yesterday. I've noticed a steady decline in vendor attendance over the last couple of years. First and foremost, Peachtree left the scene last year, they took Jerry Cole from inline-industries and his great Dubby crosscut sled. They occupied 3 whole isles. Rather than filling the void with a good quality replacement like Rockler or Woodcraft, it seems they just spread out what they had. It was sad, the only good booth with a fun to watch a good sales barker was Grr-ripper from Microjig. I've been attending this show off and on for the last 30 years. I wonder if the advent of online sales is driving the decline of face to face shows. Anyhoo, just curious if anyone else attended and what your thoughts are.

    I used to sell millwork at trade shows. As people started being able to learn stuff online, trade shows became less important. The clientele shrank so that a larger percentage were people who wanted to go for entertainment and a meal, and people unable to look stuff up online. The customers I would pick up at trade shows tended to be unable to use email, which made them hard to work with. It's fine with me if people are illiterate, I just don't want to work with them.

    My time was better spent searching for the right customers online, doing research on them, and then cold calling them. I could quickly find out if they needed my products and help , and either end the call, or set up a visit. My first trade show was in 1990, and my last trade show was in 2006. I have a year long backlog of work.

    I learn stuff online, instead of from sales people at trade shows. For example, most of my interest in this forum concerns dust collection. For machinery, I watch the used market within 200 miles. For tools and equipment, I learn more reading online than I ever would from a non-woodworker in a store.

  13. #13
    When I got into woodworking in 2002 people were complaining about the decline in the ww shows. It will only get worse. Of all of the ww machines that I have bought since 02, probably 20 large machinery items I only bought one at a local Woodcraft. I had to drive 120 miles to get it and pay sale tax. After that nearly everything came from Amazon with free ship and no tax. Now that Amazon charges tax I look around more but still buy online. I would like to go to a show but am not interested on paying to pay or paying to get in. Also would want a discounted price at the show not full MSRP

  14. #14
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    WMS1.jpgWMS2.jpgWMS3.jpgAgreed Erik. I worked WMS in Toronto last October, extremely busy show. Here are a few shots of the Felder booth. We had about half of the machines running and connected to dust extraction.

    My opinion on hobby wood working shows is that they're becoming more irrelevant every day. The shows are costly to attend so most suppliers don't go the expense of moving, installing and powering machinery, and I'm not interested in going to see 10 vendors selling router bits and glue........Rod.

  15. #15
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    I'm not interested in going to see 10 vendors selling router bits and glue........Rod.
    LOL! Count your blessings.....@ gun shows, it's 10 vendors selling beef jerky, "Kill em & Let God Sort em Out" t-shirts and knives made of some poor freighter that got washed up on the shore in Asia someplace..... .
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

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