I don’t like Orlando. You know how some places just don’t sit right with you on an almost cellular level? For me, that’s Orlando, although it’s strictly personal taste, and I’m sure a lot of great people live there.
I also don’t like to stop working when I’m busy. It’s hard for me to even take a vacation because I always feel the presence of my job. She’s like a manipulative spouse who says, “Fine, have fun. I’ll just stay here. But ... well ... every day you’re gone you’re falling further and further behind. You may never catch up. Is it really worth it to abandon me like that?”
So it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I left for this year’s International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo in Orlando during the busiest time of our editorial cycle.
But by the end of the first day, I made my peace with the city, and the empty desk in my office had actually stopped nagging me for once. It wasn’t because of any mental fortitude on my part. It was because the show was that good.
Yes, I work for the company that owns the Expo, but no one is paying me to write this. Objectively speaking, there have been a lot of great shows, and some that are not quite as strong, but this one may have been my favorite.
For starters, it seemed as if every minute there was a new activity happening on the floor, from a treasure hunt to a barbecue event to Splash Talks to a prize giveaway. Houzz and Nissan were incredible additions to the show as was the Commercial Pavilion and the presence of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers.
There was something else, too, that’s harder to put into words. Everyone I spoke with was more optimistic than in prior years, and there was a palpable hum in the air of business being conducted. The industry is getting stronger by the day, as evidenced by an increase in acquisitions, permit numbers, total remodeling activity and new branches opening in multi-state companies.
With that in mind, I’m already looking forward to next year’s show. And I’m a fan of Vegas.