Safety first is the general consensus of those who regularly attend the biennial IWF, scheduled for August but cancelled in June due to the covid-19 pandemic. Product and machinery exhibitors interviewed by Woodshop News shared their overwhelming support for the show management’s decision.
“We would have been there this year, but I was not happy considering the circumstances with covid-19,” says John A. Darroch of Apollo Sprayers, whose been with the show since its inception.
“I don’t believe that this (pandemic) is even close to being over and that show management did the only responsible thing they could by cancelling the show. We have proven over the past few weeks that we cannot be gathering in large crowds and particularly indoors. There is no way that the show would not have caused spikes in cases and ultimately some deaths as a result.”
Exhibitors faced an onslaught of logistical issues with the show. Altendorf, for example, planned to unveil a new entry-level saw, the F25, but production was stalled due to the pandemic.
“This was one of the issues we were foreseeing if the show went on, since we would not have been able to showcase new products/technologies,” says Victor Cortes, president and managing director of Altendorf Group America.
“However, it is still a shame that this show had to be cancelled, since it has always allowed customers to see many different products and vendors under one roof. We know it was a difficult decision by the organizers, but at the end it proved to be the right one, since there is still too much uncertainty surrounding us. It takes leadership to make tough decisions, and the IWF management stood up to the task.”
The cancellation is prompting exhibitors to pursue other marketing efforts.
“While we’re saddened we won’t be able to share all the new and innovative products we had planned for IWF Atlanta in-person, we anticipated this result and expect to announce plans to do so virtually very soon through our website, via email and our social media channels,” says Scott Kaminski of Häfele. “The safety of our employees and our customers must come first. To that end, we support IWF’s decision to cancel and look forward to exhibiting with them in 2022,” says Kaminski.
“The international draw of the IWF show is huge for all vendors,” says Eric Schiller of Yeti Tool. “Of course, we were very disappointed to see that it had to be cancelled due to covid-19 safety concerns. But we need do what we can to keep this thing at a manageable level.
“We’ve had to change the way we do business, with more video demos, and proof-of-concept parts production, etc. Everyone is spending more time on the internet researching since we cannot get in front of the products and people who can help us with solutions for our businesses.”
There’s already a buzz for IWF 2022.
“IWF is a great event where everyone can come together and see the latest technologies, ideas, and services the industry has to offer,” says Jeff Onsrud, director of business development for C.R. Onsrud. “In the wake of these unprecedented times of the coronavirus, we think the IWF group made the right choice to put the safety of everyone as the top priority, even if this year it will not be as convenient to see all the cutting-edge innovations under one roof. The industry is rallying behind virtual events and digital technologies to bring the next best alternative to customers in the meantime. We look forward to seeing everyone back at IWF in 2022.”
This article originally appeared in the August 2020 issue.