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ATLANTA (November 14, 2018) –Featuring more than 800 booths under one roof at the Gatlinburg Convention Center, the November 4-7, 2018 edition of the Smoky Mountain Gift Show once again attracted the attendance of top eastern region and national retail buyers from theme parks, museums, zoos, aquariums, premier tourist destinations, and national, state and local parks. The 2018 edition generated reports of quality buyer traffic, even more first-time exhibitors, introduced the new “MATCH!” appointment-based program and offered a range of fun hospitality offerings, giveaways, and networking events for attendees and exhibitors.
“The Smoky Mountain Gift Show continues to deliver a well-defined selection of quality products and new resources in one location,” says Christina Bell, group show director, Clarion UX. “We secured the best names in the gift and souvenir industry and welcomed more than 65 new vendors for the 2018 edition, strengthening Gatlinburg’s position as the leading product and service destination in the Smokies. Having these resources all under one roof is a tremendous benefit for our attendees as it gives them an opportunity to spend time fostering relationships with vendors, scouting new products, and completing their buying needs.”
Among the many show highlights were a series of competitions and awards.
Attending retailers voted on the Best New Product award during the show, and Turdcules’ (pictured left) hilarious and functional toilet elixir sprays were as selected as the winner.
Camdenton, Missouri-based Blair Cedar & Novelty Works, (pictured right) received the Best Made in America product award voted on by Smoky Mountain Gift Show retailers. Their cedar souvenirs, novelties and gift products were a favorite among retailers at the show.
In addition, the Smoky Mountain Gift Show held its grand prize drawing for the Gatlinburg Attraction VIP Pass Sweepstakes, and the winner was Wanda Brown, Unicoi State Park & Lodge, Helen, GA. Brown received two VIP attraction passes from the Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau with complimentary admission for two to more than 30 of the popular mountain resort town’s top indoor and outdoor attractions – a $1200 value.
Making its debut during the November show, MATCH!, a highly curated, guaranteed meeting program for suppliers and retailers, was designed to enhance exhibitor ROI and the overall buying experience for retailers. As part of the program format, the MATCH! event concierge team personally identified the product sourcing needs and scheduled the meetings for participating vendors and buyers. Meeting agendas were set in advance of the show allowing for the meetings to be highly productive and personalized. The inaugural program generated hundreds of appointments and feedback from program participants was overwhelmingly positive.
“I enjoyed being part of the MATCH program,” says Oly Watt, Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, West Yellowstone, MT. “It was a great experience! I definitely recommend the program and would participate again! I met great vendors, and found many new items for our gift shop.”
“The Smoky Mountain Gift Show took our company international,” said exhibitor Beau Cunningham, Turdcules. “MATCH turned out to be a valuable program for us- as first-time exhibitors - it gave us a great reputation, and we connected with buyers that we never would've met if we weren't a part of this program.”
“Every single buyer we were matched with placed an order, adds Sandy Hanson, ArtiSands LLC. “By Monday (day 2), we made everything back plus some! We've been so slammed and have gotten so many contacts. We used to exhibit at the IGES shows and moving to the Smoky Mountain Gift Show was the best decision we've made.”
In addition to new initiatives, the show floor welcomed many introductions from top-name brands and innovative newcomers in destination, resort and tourist merchandise, souvenirs, t-shirts, beach merchandise, coastal and nautical, lake, mountain and lodge, Made in the USA products, logo products, nature and wildlife products, giftware, jewelry and fashion accessories, home décor items, toys/games and more.
“I really enjoy the product selection, variety of items and range of price points at the Smoky Mountain Gift Show. It was an excellent shopping experience,” said Leesa McFarlane, Battleship NC Gift Shop, Wilmington, NC.
“The Smoky Mountain Gift Show is a perfect fit for our store’s buying needs,” adds Jon Muller, The Great T-Shirt Company, Inc., Gettysburg, PA. “We love this show – we’ve been coming for more than 20 years.
Exhibitors reported brisk business and steady order-writing with new accounts during the show, too.
“The Smoky Mountain Gift Show is one of our busiest shows of the year. We've been nonstop busy all day, it's been madness,” said Josh Glisan, Dust City Designs, Denver, CO.
“This is the best show we've done all year. I saw more corporate buyers here at the Smoky Mountain Gift Show than I have in New York, Atlanta and Las Vegas. We made all of our money back in the first day,” adds Dawn Lynch, California Clock Company, Fountain Valley, CA.
To foster the spirit of fun and hospitality that the Smoky Mountain Gift Show is known for, Clarion UX hosted its official show party at Blaine’s on Monday, November 5 and also continued many of its buyer friendly services, including the new Mountain Money Madness $1000 cash prize giveaway, gift basket giveaways, goody bag giveaways, daily $100 cash prize giveaways and complimentary refreshments for buyers each morning and afternoon.
On Monday and Tuesday, the show partnered with the Zoo & Aquarium Buyers Group (ZAG) to host Made in America Buying Tours, led by Michael Davis, buyer, Cameron Park Zoological and Botanical Society and Tommy Brown, retail manager and conservation buyer, St. Louis Zoo. Davis and Brown led participating retailers on show floor tours visiting exhibitors displaying Made in America products. In addition, Clarion UX also worked with ZAG, as well as the Living Legends Association to host hospitality and networking events for their members and associates during the show. The Living Legends Association hosted a happy hour networking reception on Tuesday, November 6.
The Smoky Mountain Gift Show will return November 6-9, 2019 to the Gatlinburg Convention Center. For exhibitor information, contact Show Director Christina Bell at 678.370.0335 | firstname.lastname@example.org or Sales Manager Joseph Lee at 678.831.4576 | email@example.com. For buyer information or to register, attendees can call 800.318.2238 or visit www.smokymtngiftshow.com
ABOUT CLARION UX
Founded in 1995, Urban Expositions, now operating as Clarion UX and owned by Clarion Events, produces and manages a portfolio of 36 trade and consumer events, serving a range of industry sectors including Gift, Souvenir, Apparel, Art, Auto, Fire and Rescue, Foodservice, Specialty Retail, Gaming, Power & Energy, and Enthusiast Lifestyle, with offices in Kennesaw, GA, Trumbull, CT, Portland, OR, and Boca Raton, FL. www.clarionux.com
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