World of Concrete: a modest, yet promising start
By Mike Brezonick09 June 2021
It’s safe to say that no one really knew for sure what to expect when the World Of Concrete show opened its doors. With companies still feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with supply chain issues still plaguing industries around the world and with the show, one of the first major exhibitions to return to in-person attendance, commencing months later than it’s typical start date, uncertainty was the word of the day. At least at the beginning.
But shortly after Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak and other officials cut the ribbon on the new 1.4 million sq. ft. West Hall expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center, the show opened and while there may have been fewer people in the halls and the outdoor lots, it was clear everybody seemed glad to be back to doing something normal.
“I think people were a little nervous this morning because it looks different,” said Juliane Davis Spinuzzi, manager of distribution sales for display and controls specialist Enovation Controls, a West Hall exhibitor. “It’s all spread out and so therefore it doesn’t look crowded. But I think that’s a little misleading.
“I think for us there are good people here, there are good OEMs that we want to see. We can conduct a lot of business with a lot of customers in a couple days, which is key. And we’ve had some good new folks come and talk to us at our booth.
“I hope that people don’t walk away thinking, ‘Oh, it was so poorly attended.’ This is our first show back since ConExpo was shut down. One of our OEM sales reps today said, ‘the right people for me are at the show.’ So that’s really promising.”
Difficult timing for some attendees
Engine manufacturer Vanguard was in an outdoor booth in the Diamond Lot just outside West Hall and Jeff Coad, vice president Product Marketing and Product Management for Briggs & Stratton said that his initial impression was that “so far, not a lot of people are here.”
“There were a lot of OEMs and companies that decided not to come and the energy level seems a little bit low to me so far,” Coad said.
Coad also said attendance was impacted by the fact that summertime is the busiest season for concrete contractors. “All of the industry’s in over their heads in terms of demand and how do you break away to come here and talk to companies you’d like to talk to versus making money?
“I think timing didn’t help. I think COVID doesn’t help. I think the attendance is a little iffy. But we said, let’s get back in the swing of things and come out here and see what happens. Then we’ll come back in January and it’ll feel a little more normal.”
Interest in buying
The lower attendance numbers was in one sense a positive, as it reduced the number of window shoppers and tire-kickers, according to Cody Blythe, air compressor product manager at Doosan Portable Power. “The people who are here are here for a reason,” Blythe said. “They’re on a mission and the ones we’ve talked to are buyers – they’re ready to buy.
“Most of the people have asked about supply chain and they’re worried about what’s the availability? When can you get me a machine? That’s been one of the main questions they’ve asked, which tells me they’re ready to buy, they want something now, they don’t want to have to wait.
“We think that stems from last year, when a lot of people kind of held on to their older equipment and didn’t turn it over at their normal rate. And so we think there’s some pent-up demand there that had just kind of released this year. So I think it’s definitely worthwhile being here.”
New hall effects
“I think, overall, it’s just everybody kind of trying to get back into the swing of things,” said Dave Bush, senior marketing strategist at American Honda. “Traffic has been, when compared to a traditional show, slow. But that’s kind of what we expected. We had numerous meetings with the person we work with on the show and he said hey, our exhibitor count’s going to be down, we know that the attendee count’s going to be down, we’ll tell you that right now.
“It’s also been kind of a challenge with this hall because nobody’s familiar with it. It’s a whole different experience. We’ve heard a few people that have said, we didn’t realize that this was over here. So there are some kinks to work out.
“But people that have been coming through, everybody’s been upbeat, nobody’s been talking anything about COVID. We’ve had a lot of interaction, so that that’s been good.”