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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

by Angie Ash, EVP

Well, here we are with another JCK show under our belts.

After going to this show for years and years, can I get an amen that there’s no place like home once the whirlwind of Vegas comes to its final stop? Dorothy definitely got that right.

Every year, as exhibitors, we approach the JCK show with a mixed bag of emotions. The sea of people heading in and heading out of the convention hall every day can make every day feel like the one before it. The din, pumped-in fragrances, and people watching that is Vegas is an assault to the senses. And yes, far exceeding the number of steps to reach your move goal each day will make you very grateful that you packed those comfortable shoes. Those are all JCK standards.

What you can’t really count on, though, is the energy you feel at the show. Or what people will be looking for, whether it’s a product or service. Will there be hot products? What will the buzz at the show be about? Will the general vibe be optimistic?

Last year’s JCK show was just kind of weird. Coming off a pandemic year, people weren’t truly comfortable with the idea of attending a big trade show, let along in Vegas. Turnout wasn’t as good and there was an underlying concern that the show would be a Covid superspreader event. That being said, you could tell that the people who attended last year were excited to buy.

Cue to this year’s show and I have to say it almost felt like it was business as usual. One of the things people tend to forget about at JCK is the industry camaraderie. Sure, Zoom calls ensure virtual meetings still take place, but it’s nice to have real face time vs. FaceTime. Making real connections with people we haven’t seen in a few years felt really good. And you know what? Both retailers and exhibitors were really happy with the show this year. Before Covid, there was this sense that big industry trade shows would go away. Attendance and the number of booths was on a downslide. This year, the JCK energy that had been waning was back.

Now, I know some retailers can still get business done and orders in outside of the show. Time away from the store is precious, and I totally get that. But I think just about everyone in the industry considers the JCK Vegas show as their “home” show, and, well…there’s no place like JCK, either. So if you find yourself humming along to that classic Clash song referenced in the title of this article when Vegas rolls around next year, the answer if you find yourself waffling is yes, you should go!

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