As Kentucky Expo Center reopens, industry pros look forward to GIE+EXPO


GIE+EXPO is set for Oct. 21-23 at the Kentucky Exposition Center (KEC), and landscape professionals have plans to attend.

The annual trade show is sponsored by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, Professional Grounds Management Society and National Association of Landscape Professionals. Those in the green industry say registering early is a key way to promote the industry.

“Even though these are uncertain times, I believe it is important for us — as business owners — to return to normal as much as possible and to continue growing our businesses,” says Chad Johnson, owner of Johnson’s Mowing Company in Abingdon, Va.

And professionals in the industry also say it’s an event not to be missed, says return attendee Mike Barrick, grounds manager for Greif, in Delaware, Ohio.

“We have attended GIE+EXPO for well over 20 years and find it a wealth of information,” he says. “As an industry, we have been able to overcome many of the obstacles facing us during this virus crisis. As one of the examples of how to make things work, we should be proud to showcase our efforts and demonstrate that we can carry on.”

Stacy Morris, owner of Sonrise Lawn Care in Stockbridge, Ga., says the ability to network with fellow industry professionals is critical to business development.

“We are starting to grow our business and wanted to get more insight,” says Morris. “(We want) to show support for one another and stimulate the economy.”

Two major events held at KEC in August were given the OK to proceed by Gov. Andy Beshear to continue, with safety precautions in place. The Kentucky State Fair to be held Aug. 20-30 has registered attendance of close to 600,000 in the 10-day event. The National Street Rod Association’s 51st Annual Street Rod Nationals will be held Aug. 6-9 at KEC, where more than 70,000 participants and spectators were expected to attend. GIE+EXPO is the 16th largest trade show in North America according to event figures, with more than 24,000 people attending in 2019. GIE+EXPO organizers say registration numbers are up year over year at this time.

“I think it’s as important this year as every year,” says Wilson Smyth, owner of Wilson’s Lawn Care and Landscaping in Morristown, Tenn. “I want to use the experience to meet other professionals and see new products. I think it’s a good way to transition your year.”

Bolstered by the news of other events proceeding at KEC, the organizers of GIE+EXPO has announced KEC is undergoing a $1.3 million improvement project to overhaul and improve the drainage and irrigation of Lot C, which hosts the 20-acre outdoor demonstration area. The project is expected to be complete by the end of July. Watch live progress online.

It’s the large demonstration area that’s a draw for Emily Worley, co-owner of Worley Lawn Services in Norwood, Ohio.

“This is a large show that brings everyone together to see and demo what’s out there,” she says. “Many items are not available at our personal dealers and it’s nice to see what else is available!”

Christina Herrick headshot (Photo: LM Staff)

Christina Herrick

Christina Herrick is a former Editor for Landscape Management. A Journalist graduate from Ohio Northern University, Christina is known for sharing her insightful experiences on the road with her audience.

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