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Woodworking and Cabinet shows

Matt Calnen

Hi all, I just got the flyer for the AWFS show in Vegas this summer. I canít think of a place Iíd like to go to less than Vegas or Atlanta in the middle of the summer. Does anyone know of a quality show, thatís in a more desirable location(the coast, wine country, Europe,etc) that is good to go to? Or of a show in a warmer climate in the spring or winter? Just wondering? Thanks

2/13/19       #2: Woodworking and Cabinet shows ...
Alan F. Member

I guess it depends on your business and if you want to see machines or new products hardware or other ideas.

There are some small regional shows, the machinery vendors seem to do 1-3 day shows at their main offices in NC or MI or SoCal.

There is a show in Hannover, Germany every two years.

There is a show in Canada either every year or every other year.

Atlanta is the biggest in the states, halls are all A/C. Chartered Buses to the hotels and show every 15 minutes or so.

Las Vegas is all A/C halls, there are hotels without casinos near the trade show.

I guess it depends on what you want to learn, what you want to buy, and how much you are willing to adjust to go learn something or find the best solution for your business all in one place.

The destination is improving your business, not the location of the show.

2/13/19       #3: Woodworking and Cabinet shows ...
Matt Calnen

We are a small mom and pop shop. I guess to sum up what Iím looking for is looking for innovative new hardware product, go to a waterborne finishing seminar, see tool demos, combined with a tax write off vacation:). I live in northern Michigan.

2/13/19       #4: Woodworking and Cabinet shows ...
Alan F. Member

Matt, A trade show is work education, I never thought of it as a vacation.

That said there is a small show in Novi, MI this Friday thru Sunday.

Some basic exhibits and some seminars.

Might be worth the drive just to get your feet wet.

The Woodworking Shows

2/14/19       #5: Woodworking and Cabinet shows ...
james e mcgrew  Member

Website: mcgrewwoodwork.com

Taking my men to IWF in 1996 Was one of the smartest things We ever did, We did not have a lot of money and bought a few guides and such but what they saw and learned was a turning point, We grew from there.

The system of hotel to show is really well set up and Atlanta has some great food here and there, The show will occupy your time so taking your wife means they are bored at the show or out in Atlanta on their own.

I am like you and Vegas has no Apeal for me, The IWF is half the size it was in the 90s and the 08 recession really had an neffect on all of Us, technology has also made a major factor in booth reduction as the growth of small CNC replaced a lot of equipment a small shop may have used in days past.

We missed a couple here and there but the best benefit was for My guys to see how others do things, many times after we got back a lot of change happened around the shop and always for the better.

2/14/19       #6: Woodworking and Cabinet shows ...
matt krig Member

Just, put on your walking shoes and go to the show, and you'll likely make it a priority each year after when you figure out what it can do for the success of you and your company. For some really passionate guys the show is their vacation! Even if you aren't buying any equipment, take a handful of classes, walk the floor and get an idea of what's possible, connect with new vendors, networks with other shops, solve your problems and you'll come away refreshed and inspired to do things better, faster and more profitably. The trip takeaways will 100% pay for the trip and more if you put the time in. I do see a lot of people partied out, and missing the valuable time at the show, which is something that should be addressed ahead of time if you are bringing employees.
Mixing it with a vacation is missing the point. The positives are both big shows are in cities that are easy to get in and out of as well as navigate without a car.
If you want to get into some shops like yours and learn what others are doing I'd suggest checking out the Cabinet Makers Association. They typically have shop tours all day the day before the show in and around Atlanta as well as events at AWFS in addition to regional events around the country where 10-30 shop owners gather for a day or two to see how other shops operate and what products they are using with success as well as sourcing about anything. check the calendar regularly as the regional events typically are spring/summer fall with a couple of months notice. https://www.cabinetmakers.org/events.html

Occasionally, a handful of attendees will stay a few days and ski, tour wine country, visit NYC, or go to more shops. But for most, we want to get back home and implement some of what we've seen.

2/14/19       #7: Woodworking and Cabinet shows ...
David R Sochar Member

There used to be some regional industrial shows - one in the Carolinas, one in Grand Rapids, Michigan, other locales.

The Michigan show was nice - in winter, but about everything was enclosed or attached, so you leave your court behind. Grand Rapids knew how to handle things, and the show was the best for really talking to people that could offer real solutions, and seeing things up close.

I enjoyed the Michigan shows better than Atlanta just because for a shorter investment of time, I could see and learn more, with less exhaustion, in Grand Rapids.

I have not been to either Big Show since the crash, I just am not as interested in big equipment as I was when running a 9 man show.
But it is fun to see that stuff run at the big shows. Many things I discovered at a show that I had no idea existed. Then there I was a few years later, buying one!

2/14/19       #8: Woodworking and Cabinet shows ...

We go to IWF in Atlanta every year its here. We are only an hour away so I drive in everyday to the classes. We also take a lot of the shop on Friday. The amount that you learn and spend is well worth the money spent. You never have to go outside during the show so the heat isn't a big deal. Between classes show passes, food, and gas we spent about $2,000 last year plus paying guys for a day without being in the shop. It is worth it every year. You need a day to walk the whole thing and then another to go back and look at the stuff you were interested in.

2/14/19       #9: Woodworking and Cabinet shows ...
Jim Kolar

First show was IWF in 1990. It exposes you to different methods and keeps you up to date with technology. Hit and miss on the shows over the years but have gone since 2008 except 2010 due to the down turn and major vendors cancelling on the show. The show is well organized and lets me evaluate our business practices.

2/14/19       #10: Woodworking and Cabinet shows ...
Brian Clancy

Website: http://Clancywoodworking.com

Couldnít agree more than what Matt said. Also Membership in Cabinet Makers Association pays for itself every year from whatís taken away from the shows, regional events and online forum.

2/15/19       #11: Woodworking and Cabinet shows ...

I was nervous about paying for the cabinet makers association at first thinking that it would be just like paying for woodweb. It is so much better and well worth the money. The whole things is mostly cabinet shops with 20 or less employees really trying to help each other. I think when people are paying to be in it they are more willing to give up good information. It is worth it just for the shop tours before IWF to see how your shop compares to others and to get ideas on ways to improve or see things that you never thought of.

2/21/19       #12: Woodworking and Cabinet shows ...

I don't think the major woodworking shows can be thought of as a vacation. I sure wouldn't bring my wife unless she is a major partner in your business. The Atlanta show is a full time thing, all day for 3 full days. You will walk miles. Be organized before you get there. Consider it an educational thing. I've been to every Atlanta show except 2008 &10. I always take employees. After the show there is time to get together with other people, have a good diner, swap some lies. Some of the major suppliers will offer you diner if you are a good customer. The show is highly recommended as part of your business education, NOT as a vacation. If you've never been to Atlanta spend an extra day or two there to see the city. You don't need a car, buy a Marta pass.

2/21/19       #13: Woodworking and Cabinet shows ...
Matt Calnen

Thank you all for the replies. I will certainly reconsider going to Vegas. My wife is a major part of my business. We would both benefit form going to a good show. My thought was we were planning a vacation, and I thought hey, if we could do a good three day show, then be in a place that was cool or worth seeing, even better. Spend a week or so in a neat place. Where would I find a list of shows upcoming?

2/21/19       #14: Woodworking and Cabinet shows ...
Alan F. Member

You should look at joining the CMA. The educational value will far outweigh your dues.

They have seminars at shows and do shop tours.

Touring other shops is can open your eyes and save you so much time and energy by learning from those willing to share.

Cabinet Makers Association

2/23/19       #15: Woodworking and Cabinet shows ...

I just got back from KBIS show in Vegas. Flew in on Weds and walked part of show came back and walked the rest. Stayed in n Trump tower and took Uber was everywhere. Stay away from taxis and shuttles they are thieving bastards! Weds night went to Cirque de Solai. We saw lots of good stuff. You can go to a small regional show but you wonít see 1/10 of what you will at the big shows. It cost Hundreds of thousands for the big companies to display and they need tens of thousands of visitors to make it worth their while.
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