Let the Show Begin

Jane Ayer
December 03, 2007
Written by Jane Ayer
The show guide is hot off the presses...
The show guide is hot off the presses, the schedule is set and now we await the hustle and bustle of actually setting up our booths and kicking off Bakery Showcase 2006.

Of all food and bakery trade shows on the planet, Showcase is my favourite. It’s such a great opportunity to connect with so many different parts of the baking industry, all in one spot. It’s a chance to see what’s new in terms of equipment, ingredients, packaging, and decorating. And for a magazine editor, it’s an opportunity to connect with our readers, an occasion to meet many of you face-to-face for the first time, to hear your stories, to find out what bee you have in your bonnet, what issues or concerns you’re grappling with.

In this issue, Michelle Brisebois offers a trade show game plan for you exhibitors out there to get the most out of any trade show you attend. The hours are often long, the feet sore and the cost of exhibiting usually pricey, but as Michelle argues in her column, the investment is more often than not worth it. (Read Michelle Brisebois’ column on page 12.)

There are also costs for attendees. You likely are taking time away from your bakery that you can’t necessarily afford, perhaps you’re flying in for the event, which means flight, hotel and meal expenses, and then there’s the price of entry and seminars (minimal for Bakery Showcase, but still an expense). If you’re not from the GTA or within a few hours driving distance of the Congress Centre, you may have decided the show is not worth the expense. I’d like to tell you why I think the show is worth the commitment of a little time and money and also offer advice for ways to get the most out the show.

 If you’re a baker or bakery owner, you spend long hours in the sometimes cloistered world of your bakery. You’re comfortable with your mixers and ovens and bags of flour and it’s easy to convince yourself you can’t possibly take a day away, you can’t possibly leave someone else in charge. But you can. The world of your bakery won’t cave in if you leave for one day. And the day away at a trade show might just inspire you and ignite new ideas that could spark some much needed change in your bakery. I’ve attended many a trade show in my tenure as editor of Bakers Journal and I more often than not have come back excited about the people that I’ve met and the products I’ve seen.

My advice for anyone attending Showcase? Comfortable shoes and a shoulder bag (or even better, a bag with wheels) are musts. Bring a camera and don’t be afraid to take pictures – you might see a decorating idea or a merchandising tip that you’d like to borrow. If something in one booth catches your eye, stop and investigate. If everyone in the booth is busy, be patient, or stop back a little later. And come to the show with an open mind. Meet the eyes of the vendors showcasing their wares. They’re there to offer you solutions, sometimes to problems you didn’t even know you had.

A trade show is not just about the trading of goods. It’s also about the trading of ideas, about the trading of opinions, the trading of advice. It’s the best sort of one-stop shopping, personalized and specialized precisely for the business you’re in. Take advantage of it.

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