Attendance was up at the two Fine Furnishings shows in 2014, according to producer Karla Little. The Milwaukee show, held Oct. 3-5, had a 17 percent increase at the gate, while attendance at the Nov. 7-9 show in Pawtucket, R.I., jumped 11 percent.
“I’m thrilled with the turnout,” Little says. “It’s just wonderful to see this happy atmosphere. When the economy was so sad and grim, it was painful to watch businesses close. But this shows a different outlook.”
The retail shows feature custom furniture makers mixed with exhibitors of handcrafted accessories for the home. Little says she had a waiting list for exhibitors at both shows.
“What’s really exciting is that a few years ago I was concerned about where the next generation of exhibitors would come from. Now I’m really pleased that there’s a great group in their late 20s to early 40s that are talented and seem to be smart businesspeople too.”
First-time exhibitor Toney Robertson of Galveston, Ind., had a great first day at the Milwaukee show, selling a walnut desk for $7,800. He also exhibited at Pawtucket in an effort to expand his market.
“I think the show is very well run and I like the venue. I thought the people were great and very friendly,” Robertson says. “I probably will return. I’m always a little paranoid wondering if I did it this year, will I do it next year? I’ve been told by a lot of people the shows get better for exhibitors year after year and you build up a customer base and then it goes pretty well.”
The Milwaukee show will be moving to a new venue in 2015. It’s scheduled for Sept. 18-20 at the Muellner Building in Wauwatosa, Wis. The Pawtucket show will be held Nov. 6-8.
For exhibitor and show information, visit www.finefurnishingsshows.com.
This article originally appeared in the February 2015 issue.