With the weather on its side, this year’s Atlantic City Pool & Spa Show once again broke its own exhibitor records and enjoyed the second-highest attendance ever, said show organizers from the Northeast Spa & Pool Association.
“The Atlantic City show grows stronger each year,” said Steven Metz, show chairman and NESPA vice president. “The industry continues to support this wonderful event.”
Held Jan. 22-25 at the Atlantic City (N.J.) Convention Center, the event brought in a record-breaking 466 companies occupying approximately 130,000 square feet of space, which was also a record. A total of 12,530 people turned out for the show, with 9,030 being attendees and the rest exhibitor staff, said show director Trish McCormick. That’s only slightly down from the high of 9,478 attendees last year.
Exhibitor Jim Carlin sounded pleased with the experience. “It’s been good. We had a lot of traffic through the booth,” said the district sales manager at package-pool manufacturer Kafko, a division of Latham Plastics in Latham, N.Y. “As far as leads, they were extremely strong.”
Others agreed with that assessment. “The traffic’s been unbelievable for us, with really positive people,” said Leslie Wayne, sales and distribution manager at Aqua Climb, an aquatic-play equipment manufacturer and first-time exhibitor from Leesburg, Va. “This show, for us, has been amazing. We’ll definitely do it again.”
While some exhibitors thought foot traffic was less than that of previous shows — perhaps because of their booth locations — they still remain fans of the event. “Overall, it was very positive,” said Mike Tierney, territory manager for Waterway Plastics in Oxnard, Calif. “In the past 20 years this show has evolved, and we love it.”
More than 5,000 people participated in the educational program, excluding the CPO course. This year, NESPA held its first-ever advanced building program, titled “Mastering the Craft.” The three-day slate of courses drew 35 people, well over the association’s goal of 20. “It was a tremendous hit,” Metz said. “The people who went were very excited about attending something along those lines next year.”
He added that the paid business seminars drew a record crowd. “We have been trying to build up our seminars for the past five years,” Metz said. “This year, we had a large enough participation and high enough feedback that we feel we’re now a destination for business education, as well as technical seminars and exhibits.”
The 3-year-old membership suite recruited 25 new members, McCormick added.