Trade Shows Largely Steer Clear of East Coast Blizzard

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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New York, NY – A strong Winter storm packing a snowy punch in the northeastern U.S. collided with a lull in the trade show calendar as the week got underway.  As of early afternoon on Monday, January 26, the snow was flying from Philadelphia to Boston, triggering announcements of travel restrictions and airline cancellations. Reed Exhibitions closed its Norwalk, CT office at mid-afternoon and taxis were ordered off the streets of New York City by 11 p.m.

“Very impressive snowfalls of one to three feet are predicted from the New York City area through southern and eastern New England by the time the storm departs late Wednesday,” the National Weather Service said in an advisory. “Residents are advised to stay sheltered through the length of this powerful Winter storm.”

Show organizers and venue managers took the warnings seriously and prepared for what looked to be a long week ahead. “The situation is fluid right now but we’ve established plans to adjust to changing conditions and circumstances,” said Alan Steel, president and CEO of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.

Steel told Trade Show Executive (TSE) that Javits was busily moving out the last freight from the New York Boat Show and preparing for move-in of NY Now, a TSE Gold 100 show expected to host more than 2,800 exhibitors starting January 31. “We’re working closely with contractors and event managers to coordinate move-out of the Boat Show, which ended yesterday, and NY Now, which opens this weekend,” he said. “We’ll continue to adjust plans as the situation determines, but as of this moment, we expect to open NY Now as scheduled.”

Exhibitors were scheduled to begin the move-in process on Tuesday for NY Now, although semi-trucks would be banned from the city streets, along with taxis and buses, starting Monday night. Emerald Expositions sent a statement to exhibitors Monday evening saying show management and Freeman personnel would be at Javits Monday night and aimed for a Wednesday start for move-in. “Please be assured that NYC is well accustomed to snow removal and will be in action throughout the storm and immediately afterward,” the statement said.

The timing of the storm actually could have been worse if January was a busy month for trade shows on the Eastern seaboard. But the show calendar for the week is light with only a couple of events scheduled to actually open during or immediately after the storm.

While many East Coast residents of the area were busy loading up shopping carts with groceries and other supplies, workers at the Atlantic City Convention Center hustled to complete the last of the set-up work for The 2015 Pool & Spa Show, which was scheduled to open January 27. The weather forecast called for clearing skies Tuesday evening, in time for the opening reception. The regional show was expected to draw about 11,000 attendees this year and cover approximately 100,000 net square feet of exhibit space, according to the Northeast Spa & Pool Association (NESPA).

In Boston, the Yankee Dental Congress remained on track to open on Wednesday. Show organizers told exhibitors that the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center would remain open throughout the week, but late arrivals would be allowed to move in until Wednesday night.

Reach Alan Steel at (212) 216-2000 or asteel@javitscenter.com; Stefanie Cunniffe, manager, exhibits & operations, Yankee Dental Congress, at (508) 449-6003, or scunniffe@massdental.org; Scott Kramer, NY Now vice president and show director, at (914) 421-3264 or scott.kramer@nynow.com; Trish McCormick, show manager, Pool and Spa Show, at (609) 689-9111, or pmccormick@nespapool.org.