By Leah Stassen
As one of the latest dated trade shows in this year’s ordering season, the recent NEWSR show taking place March 18–21 at the Holiday Inn in Manchester, New Hampshire was bustling—if you were a ski dealer. Snowboard reps and buyers, however, were simply doing clean-up and accessory business. The majority of snowboard hardgoods orders were already placed and only a small percentage of business was left unfinished this late in the season.
Even so, many snowboard reps were on hand to answer any questions about the 2002/03 lines and pick up any orders still coming in. K2’s Northeastern Sales Representative Chris Barnes explains the predicament in terms of shipping and discounts. “Really, there isn’t much to do here at the show—the deadline for the September ship date was early last week so I don’t have many orders coming in this late,” he says. “There are some buyers from many of the resort or mountain-based shops who don’t need product earlier than November—they tend to be the shops pushing paper at this show.”
Other reps like Brad Haverly, northeastern sales representative for M3, point to the February 11–14 NEWSR show in Providence, Rhode Island as the main reason for the lack of traffic during the Manchester show. “Really snowboard buyers on the East mainly go to Providence. That show happens in early February, so many retailers are able to write orders there and still have enough time to get discounts and early ship dates.”
Although the show turnout was almost even with last year’s show, the overall traffic for the show did seem light. This may be due to the show’s size. According to the NEWSR the 2001 Manchester show had 729 pre-registered attendants of which 214 were from shops, actual attendance was 661 with 283 shops. This year the numbers were similar—760 pre registered attendants of which 250 were from shops, a slightly lower 597 people chose to attend this year, 286 of them were store buyers.In spite of a lower turnout, reps and retailers kept themselves busy knowing that this show was their last for another season. The promise of home kept many rep’s faces bright in the wake of an uncertain buying season.
“Its been a strange year since Vegas,” Davy Kammer, Head Snowboards product and team manager, explains later. “Dealers, especially on the East Coast, don’t really know what to do in terms of orders. For some the Manchester show was the first time they’ve seen the line, others were pushing paper, and some didn’t show up at all.”