It is difficult enough that FFANY and WSA show dates overlap this February (2-4). But when three shoe shows (FFANY, WSA and Outdoor Retailer) all had overlapping dates for this August, something had to be done. WSA show organizers have decided to break up the logjam by moving its show dates from August 3-5 to 9-11 at the Sands Expo and The Venetian in Las Vegas. FFANY will be held August 3-5 in New York and the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, UT, runs August 3-6—the new dates moving from its previous July dates to address the needs of the paddlesports market.
“The Las Vegas exhibition calendar is always complicated, and luckily, WSA was able to make a date change for August 2010,” states Elyse Kroll, chairwoman of ENK and owner of WSA. “As we reinvent our national Shoe Show, our goal is three-fold: it became apparent that our dates need to be friendlier and of paramount importance is that the industry needs to be united and under one roof.”
Gary Hauss, owner of the J. Stephen chain in West Hills, CA, believes the shift is good for the shoe industry overall. “It’s a great move for WSA to change they’re dates so as not to sit right on top of FFANY’s. We are one industry with the purpose of working together to make it a better industry, and this will allow vendors and retailers to participate in both venues while still getting the maximum amount of retailers to attend.” Hauss adds, “It also shows a willingness on the part of WSA organizers to, as they say in politics, reach across the aisle and try and work together.”
Gary Weiner, owner of Saxon Shoes in Richmond, VA, concurs that the shift in dates is better for the industry. However, he is waiting to see WSA’s exhibitor list before deciding to make the cross country trip to Las Vegas next August. “WSA has shrunk to a level that it is not making a whole lot of sense for me to make the trip right now,” Weiner says, noting he will definitely attend The Atlanta Shoe Market (TASM) show this February (19-21) and perhaps will attend some FFANY shows in February, and June as well.
Asked what it will take to for him to return to WSA, Weiner says: “If WSA were once again a humongous national shoe show with all the CEOs and brand presidents in attendance, then I would be going.”
Another influential New York-based retailer says separate FFANY and WSA show dates is a step in the right direction. Diplomatically, the retailer adds that both shows have their strengths. “I support WSA because I always find vendors that I can’t find in small, closed rooms,” he says. “The industry has too much to offer to be spread out in showrooms and tiny hotel rooms.” However, the retailer adds, “I certainly support FFANY as an important venue, and it would become more important if it would be at the Javitz Center where some of the showrooms would come onto the floor and become team players.”