Organizers of the Woodworking Fair Midwest (WFM) were pleased with their first three-day trade show, Aug. 26-28 in Borden, Ind., with more attendees and exhibitors than initially expected.
The WFM came about after IWF 2020 was cancelled, initiated by woodworking machinery supplier Northtech Machine; Vecoplan Midwest, a wood and biomass grinding and shredding company, and JKL Machinery, the North American importer of Casadei-Busellato machinery.
Eighteen exhibitors showcased products and services in a 55,000-sq.-ft. setting. There were just under 200 attendees from at least 10 states, according to Northtech president Brandon Koetter.
“I think the turnout was pretty good. You always want more than what you get, but I think we had an excellent turnout given the fact that we only had 60 days to put this together since the IWF cancellation,” says Koetter.
“It was clearly worth doing. Everyone that came was happy to have some show that was going on. A lot of people were wanting to get out and see and touch machines. A lot of people are busy and profitable right now which is exciting. The Covid situation definitely impacted our attendance. It’s hard to say how much, but if we choose to do it again, we’d be able to do what we did or more.”
One of those happy attendees was Doug White, a lumber dealer in Marissa, Ill. who attended the WFM with his brother Kent White of St. Louis, Mo. for two days. The drive was just under four hours from Doug’s home.
“We were disappointed that the IWF was cancelled because we’d been looking forward to it for a while. When we heard about this, we decided to go see it. It was a great time,” says White.
White purchased sandpaper and supplies but was very interested in Northtech’s L5 No Lock Air Lock straight line rip saw fence that activates with the touch of a hand.
“I’m thinking about buying it. It’s pretty neat and I think it would be exciting for the guys at my shop to have a new piece of equipment like that.”
The list of exhibitors included Cefla Finishing, Dekker Vacuum Technologies, Dubois Equipment Co., Honeyville Metal, IVEC Systems, Casadei-Busellato, Lamello, Northtech Machine, Nova Dry Kiln, PMK Systems, Pyramid Technical Group, Striebig, TigerStop, Timesavers, RUF Briquetting, Vecoplan, Weinig Holz-Her, and Woodtech Machinery.
“Several companies had some level of automation. Cefla had an automatic finishing system, TigerStop had their push feed systems, Dubois had their automatic in-line paint system set up, and we had a new idovetailer, which has interactive screen with controls along with our touch-activated rip saw fence,” says Koetter.
To keep costs down, there were no pre-registration requirements and no carpeted aisles. There was, however, A/C throughout the building, indoor restrooms, and a food truck. Everyone on-site was required to adhere to strict Covid-19 guidelines as mandated by the state of Indiana and in accordance with other regulations.
“We did take the Covid concerns seriously. We expanded our aisles to where all booths were island booths, so we didn’t have anybody right next to anyone else,” says Koetter.
The group will consider holding a similar event in the future.
For more, visit www.woodworkingfairmidwest.com.