Surf Expo Breaks Records in Orlando

January 16, 2013

Riding the waves just seems to be getting more and more popular every year as evidenced by George Little Management’s biannual Surf Expo event, which was held Jan. 10-12 in Orlando and grew to record-breaking levels.

More than 26,000 attendees flocked to a packed to a 250,000 square foot showfloor at the Orange County Convention Center, where 2,500 brands showed off their wares to buyers from 47 states and 49 countries.

“We are thrilled by the feedback we've received from the show," said Surf Expo Show Director Roy Turner.

He added, "The market was vibrant, optimistic and ready to stock their shelves for 2013."

Cumulative buyer traffic topped 12,500, an increase of 23 percent, compared with the January 2012 show.

 "Buyers from more than 3,300 different retail businesses found the largest Surf Expo in history and definitely had reason to stay more days," said Senior Buyer Relations Manager Steven Fisher.

Exhibiting companies were prepared for the busy showfloor, with exhibitor attendance spiking 35 percent to nearly 7,300, compared with last year. Media attendance also was sharply up, showing gains of 35 percent.

"The increase in traffic Surf Expo enjoyed at our January show - whether you're talking about buyers, exhibitors or media - says volumes about the trust the industry places in Surf Expo to deliver the best buyers, best exhibitors, and the best shopping experience," Turner said.

According to Brooke Brockner, buyer at Ocean Key Resort in Florida, "Surf Expo was great. I found a lot of vendors that I was looking for and new ones I was not."

Exhibitors also gave the show positive reviews. "Once again, we had a successful show," said Holly Anderson, senior sales manager of NHS.

She added, "We met with at least 75 customers and collected more than 30 new leads. The bosses really liked all the orders we got too."

The next Surf Expo will be held Sept. 6-8 and feature several changes, including a collocation with consumer event The Boardroom International Surfboard Show.

"One of the most exciting opportunities offered by our GLM partnership is the ability to take The Boardroom to a variety of different regions with a strong surf culture, and Florida fits that bill perfectly," said Scott Bass, founder of The Boardroom.

The announcement marks the first time in Surf Expo's 37-year history where consumers will be permitted to attend part of the Surf Expo show.

"For years we've had to turn away dedicated surfers and boardsports enthusiasts who are dying to attend Surf Expo and experience the companies it serves," Turner said.

He added, "Now, there's finally an event for them - and an easy, effective way for Surf Expo exhibitors to interact with thousands of passionate and knowledgeable end users celebrating the sport we love."

The September show also will feature a first-time collocation with GLM’s newly acquired Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition.

"Internet Retailer @ Surf Expo" will present Surf Expo retailers and exhibitors with onsite access to top-level e-commerce vendors, as well as hands-on information on how e-commerce can help to grow their businesses.

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