2017 GIE+EXPO breaks records


The 2017 GIE+EXPO on Oct. 18-20, at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, Ky., was another record-breaking event.

“GIE+EXPO continues to grow in size as well as in its reputation as the industry’s gathering place,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI.

The annual industry event draws all segments of the outdoor power equipment and lawn & garden industry. It is sponsored by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS) and National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).

This year’s show topped the last three years’ records in both attendance and exhibitors with more than 24,000 people from around the world representing a 7 percent increase compared to 2016. Additionally, with an indoor footprint equal to 47 White Houses, exhibit space grew 9 percent. In fact, GIE+EXPO was recently named the 10th largest show in North America by Trade Show Executive magazine.

Attendance Records

In the last four years, GIE+EXPO has averaged a 12 percent increase in total attendance.

In 2017 compared with 2016, lawn and landscape pro registrations were up 12 percent, lawn and garden center registrations were up 27 percent and distributor registrations were up 12 percent.

New attendees included 34 percent of dealer/retailer registrants and 44 percent of lawn and landscape pros. Both dealer/retailer and lawn and landscape companies sent an average of at least two employees.

“The show is awesome. This is my first time, and I didn’t expect it to be so big and to see so much new equipment,” said Scott Baechle of Top Turf Care in Springfield, Mo. “One of the reasons I came is to demo equipment. I can see it all in one spot, test how it performs and decide what I want to purchase.”

Exhibit Records

There were more than 1,005 indoor and outdoor exhibits at GIE+EXPO and the co-located Hardscape North America (HNA), including 226 new exhibitors. The indoor show floor was 50,000 square feet larger than in 2016. The outdoor demonstration area covered 20 acres, and attendees had two full days to test equipment. Compared to 2016, HNA increased in size by more than 16 percent.

Additionally, the New Products Showcase sold out, featuring more than 100 products that were introduced within the past year, and 25 exhibitors hosted press conferences where most introduced new products.

“GIE+EXPO is the best place in the industry to display products, demonstrate our machines and meet customers,” said Joe Conrad, president of Mean Green Mowers. “We increased our booth space this year in order to showcase our new products. We always unveil something new and always get some good industry press coverage in addition to meeting new customers.”

Dealer Day

Dealer Day on Wednesday, Oct. 18, provided focused education, basic and advanced tech training and facilitated one-on-one time so exhibitors and dealers/distributors could network and discuss pricing and products. Dealership consultant Bob Clements’ People, Process, Profit boot camp drew an average of 160 attendees to each of its three sessions.

The Dealer Keynote Luncheon, sponsored by Gravely and Stihl, drew more than 400 participants to hear economist Alan Beaulieu discuss emerging economic trends and how to take advantage of them.
 During a reception on the show floor, Wednesday evening exhibitors held prize drawings and entertained dealers and retailers with music, food, beverages and games.

Pro Education

On Wednesday while retailers, distributors and dealers were busy at the Kentucky Exposition Center, lawn & landscape professionals were in downtown Louisville taking classes offered by PGMS and NALP. The sessions continued at the exposition center on Thursday and Friday.

Attendance for the GIE+EXPO workshops for lawn & landscape pros increased by 18 percent over 2016. Topics included hiring, retaining and motivating employees and estimating and increasing profits.

Looking Ahead

As a result of the show’s continued growth, a new format will be implemented in 2018, allowing contractors an extra day on the show floor. Show dates are Oct. 17-19. The indoor show floor will open exclusively for dealers, retailers and the media at noon on Wednesday. Then, beginning at 3 p.m. and continuing Thursday and Friday, the entire industry will be invited to visit the exhibits. The outdoor demonstration area will be open Thursday and Friday.

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