All in All, a Pretty Darn Fine GIE+EXPO

Numbers continue to rebound from the Recession
by Ron Hall/Editor-in-Chief
11/1/2013

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The numbers were up again at the GIE+EXPO, which took place Oct. 23-25 at the huge Kentucky Exposition Center. The GIE+EXPO is generally regarded as the premiere event in the United States focusing on the educational and product needs of the landscape and grounds professionals. It is co-sponsored by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) and the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS).

The aisles inside the mammoth Kentucky Exposition Center bustled throughout the three days of the event. Attendees and vendors manning most of the 750 booths expressed optimism about the prospects for the contractor segment of the green industry heading into 2014. Given this past year's stronger than normal snow season, the Snow & Ice section of the trade show floor seemed to draw an unusually large amount of attention.

Also, traffic for Dealer Day, Wednesday, Oct. 23, (a day dedicated to distributors, dealers and retailers and not open to contractors or grounds pros) seemed to be unusually brisk - at least compared to the previous four or five years. 

Another significant and recent addition to the week's events was the continued presence and support the vendors associated with Hardscape North America, produced by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute and endorsed by the national Concrete Masonry Association and the Brick Industry Association.

Contractors and grounds professionals visiting the EXPO and participating in the events associated with the PLANET and the PGMS appreciated the opportunity to explore the huge variety of new hardscape offerings.

The numbers at a glance:

- A 12 percent increase in attendance for the GIE+EXPO

- More than 1,200 attendees for PLANET's Green Industry Conference, continuing the march toward pre-recessionary (2008-2009) levels of participation by landscape and lawn care pros.

- Almost twice as many workshops being offered on the Wednesday before the official opening of the GIE+EXPO as just a few years ago.

- A 10 percent increase in the number of attendees for PLANET's Breakfast of Champions, always one of the GIC's most anticipated events.

- A 10 percent increase in the CEO Forum.

Near freezing temperatures slowed activity somewhat on the 19-acre outdoor demonstration area early the morning of Thursday that probably contributed to the high volume of traffic inside the EXPO facility. To the relief of suppliers with demo equipment outside , activity picked up marketedly that afternoon and was strong the following day thanks to moderating temperatures.