Canadian Trade Show Hits Local Market

NSIA takes over Mount Tremblant and Montreal.By Anthony Harubin

The 2001 National Snow Industries Association (NSIA) Snow Show got off to a great start with clear skies and decent weather on Thursday February 8 at the on-snow demo, but had a rainy day on Friday. However, the base of Mont Tremblant was bustling with exhibitors and retailers testing the latest hardgoods.

At least one company felt it should have brought softgoods as well, after experiencing the rain. “I wish we had a brought a line of demo clothing for people to try during these wet conditions, then buyers would then see how much work we put into our new lines,” says Byron Seegers, vp of sales and marketing for Option/NFA.

But companies made sure to crank up the excitement level, andRossignol parked a 24-foot trailer complete with DJ inside right in the middle of the demo. “All our reps were well prepared for the demo day and I think people can see that Rossignol is not just a ski company,” says Snowboard Division Manager Michel Lessard.

The show then moved an hour away to downtown Montreal on Sunday February 11 for three days of product presentations. The halls of Place Bonaventure were once again packed with a mix of national and international companies exhibiting.

Companies had many different reasons to attend the show, and all were rewarded. “This our third year at the show, and this year (like all other years) we totally revamped our line,” says Jack Wang, co-founder of Iris goggles. “We now have distribution in more than twenty countries, and a year-round line with sunglasses and clothing. We’re here at the NSIA to tell retailers that we will still concentrate on goggles and keep revamping and staying fresh.”

Montreal native and Foursquare, Circa footwear, Forum, and Special Blend General Manager Marc Morisset says location and timing are important for the show: “Montreal is where we see our East Coast accounts. Plus it’s our first show of the season. We’ve been rammed here today. We have to keep the door closed because there have been too many people in the booth.”

Marc Ameziane, who takes care of sales and marketing for Rewind Clothing and PTS Shoe Co., explained his presence at the show: “We’re here to see local and national buyers. We also look for new team riders and sign contracts. Plus, my brother, Claude Ameziane, designs and shows the collection. We talk with riders for two months to get information before designing the lines. We want to create a line for the Canadian cold that’s also fashionable here on the East Coast where style is a big thing.”

Sean Sullivan is the Canadian sales manager for M3 and Chorus Snowboards understands, “it is important for us to be here, it’s a fantastic event. We see a lot of our eastern dealers, and we’re introducing a lot of new products this year, so this booth pays off for us. We’re excited to be here – the booth is double the size this year. Chorus Snowboards is new for us – designed from CAD drawings and according to our knowledge we believe it’s the first girl snowboard program ever designed.”

Robert Marcovitch is the President of the K2 Corporation of Canada who believes that, “This show provides the most comprehensive presentation of all our products that any retailer can see. We try very hard to have all of the most informed people here so we can provide our retailers with all the information that they can rely upon to make good business investments for their stores. We like to think that we can give them all the answers to the questions in an immediate fashion. During the show retailers test us by asking what we’re doing and why, but we always have the opinion that we’re very straight up about what we’re doing…no hidden agendas. We’re comfortable that we can not be all things to all people – our retailers are beginning to understand and respect that we’re willing to make tough decisions which are sometimes positive for them and sometimes not – but at least they know what’s going on so they can make the best decision based upon the information available. I hope that when the retailers hear it coming from the guy leading the charge, whether it’s better or worse, they can get the straight goods”

Neil Wilson works at Hustler Snowboards in Oakville, Ontario, “We come to the show to see a lot of things that we can’t see in the shop – some of the bigger lines that we carry like Ride and Forum. You can see the whole line here, because the reps can’t carry it all. We also come to look for something new, something different – maybe we can get an edge on somebody in our local area.”

Alain Ayoub manages the EQ shop in Laval, Quebec enjoys the NSIA because, “It’s always nice to see old friends, which is a good reason to come to the show, obviously for us dealers it’s important to see the different trends and where the companies may be taking us, what our consumers will be looking forward to seeing. It’s a combination between buying, looking, and hooking up with old friends. We also look for some good Canadian product which is very important for us, we’re pro-Canadian products, and we have major respect for the guys at Option/NFA.”

Byron Seegers, the VP of Sales and Marketing for Option/NFA enjoys the show because, “we get to talk and meet with the people, retailers and friends. Personalities are just as important to this business because it’s a lifestyle. What we want to project to the retailers is our solidity and that we’re very good.”

Steve Dewar is the President of Sims who explains, “I come to the NSIA to show my appreciation to our retailers that have supported us over the years, and to say thank you for their business. This year we did a re-birth of the brand, moved down to California and went to a single owner, which is a super positive move for the brand. There is now one clear set of directions as opposed to several when you get into a situation where you have different owners. I want the retailers to hear it from me that our commitment and focus is one hundred percent on specialty shops and it has always been that way in Canada. One of the great things that we’ve always noticed is that Canada has never changed or swayed from our vision. At Sims we make high-end, high-quality products for specialty retailers – we’ve never changed that focus from the day I’ve took over this thing and we will never change that focus. We have a vision – we all have a responsibility to grow but at the same time you really have to remain true to the people who get you where you’re at and the second you lose that – you lose a lot of credibility.”