Calling all landscape and hardscape contractors and those who do business with them, GIE+Expo is here! The next three days will be packed full of equipment demonstrations, networking, education and entertainment, all geared toward our industry. And the 2018 edition of the Expo is expected to be its biggest yet.
"Every indication points to the 2018 show being bigger than it’s ever been on all fronts," says Warren Sellers, show director. "Participation from all segments of the industry is going strong. Add to that the synergy that's being generated by the new Wednesday format, as well as exhibitors who are stepping up their participation on the show floor — both indoors and out — and this is shaping up to be our best event yet."
The new Wednesday format includes a show-floor preview – Wednesday, Oct. 17 from 12 to 3 p.m. – exclusively for dealers, retailers and distributors. This is their opportunity to meet one-on-one with exhibitors and preview the products featured at GIE+Expo and Hardscape North America. A free concert featuring Colt Ford with opener Kelleigh Bannen will take place after the show floor closes.
On Thursday and Friday, Oct. 18 and 19, GIE+EXPO and the Outdoor Demo Area will be open to all industry participants.
Attendance was trending more than 10 percent higher than last year among both dealers and contractors. As of mid-September, the servicing dealer registration category was up 12 percent over last year and contractor categories were up 11 percent. Exhibitor participation was also up with about 1,000 total GIE+Expo and Hardscape North America exhibits, indoors and out. New exhibitors make up about 18 percent of them.
More new product introductions are expected, with over 120 products in the New Products Spotlight and 21 exhibitors hosting press conferences. The New Products Spotlight features more than 100 new products from 79 companies.
A spinoff of the popular New Products Showcase, this special display, which will be located in the registration area, will highlight manufacturers' newest items. In order to qualify for the Spotlight, products must have been introduced within the past year. Some will have their official unveiling during the show.
"The new products area has always been a popular feature, but as the show continues to grow, we had maxed out space on the show floor. In order to make room for more exhibitors, we've revamped the feature," said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. "With this new lobby display, attendees will be able to get an overview of the new products and where to find them before they head out onto the show floor."
After reviewing the latest innovations in the New Products Spotlight, attendees can plan a strategy for visiting the indoor exhibits, talking with manufacturers and getting hands-on with the products in the adjacent Outdoor Demonstration Area.
The Outdoor Demonstration Area covers over 20 acres. The Kentucky Exposition Center is the only facility in the U.S. that offers such a large outdoor turf area just a few steps from the indoor exhibits. See the new products indoors, then try them for yourself in the demo park and compare them with the competition.