AWFS®Fair 2009 announced that the most recent show, "proved to be the place for the entire woodworking community to come together, show support and strengthen the industry. Exhibitors reported strong buyer interest, especially from international delegations."
"The show exceeded my expectations by far; our sales have been great," Gaspar Tellez from Laguna Tools, Irvine, Calif. wrote in a post-show survey.
AWFS said that it added value to the show with new features on the show floor like the Green Desk, smartSHOP and shredding program and had a strong line up of educational seminars. The new features were a huge success and will be expanded and enhanced in the years to come. AWFS, along with exhibitors WEIMA America and Delmac, also showed local support with donations of products made at the Fair to several Las Vegas charities, including The Animal Foundation, The Springs Preserve, Greener Vegas and Habitat for Humanity.
"The show was much better than we expected. We came in hopes of gaining market share so that when things turn around we'll be a few steps ahead of our competition," said Mike Serwa from Vortex Tool Company, Schofield, Wis.
Guatemala and Mexico proved to be the two most active international delegations, in terms of purchase orders, according to Ana Druk, who heads AWFS' International Buyer Program. Buyers from the two countries were on the show floor each day, making purchases of both equipment and supplies.
"The show was excellent for us," Brent East from Thermwood Corporation, Dale, Ind. agreed. "Both the number and quality of buyers were much better than I anticipated."
Two new countries sent delegations of buyers - Iraq and Mongolia.
"New buyers seem to be most interested in distributorship opportunities, purchasing small tools and education materials. The leaders of the two new delegations both stated that they will be back in 2011!" said Druk.
This year's fair hosted 9,000 registered attendees and close to 600 exhibiting companies. Woodworking industry professionals, drawn from 52 countries from around the world met, networked, attended some of the more than 50 education sessions and conducted business over the course of four whirlwind days.
Overall, the show proved to be a success, according to Archie Thompson, AWFS Tradeshow Chair, National Sales Manager of Spectrum Adhesive.
"The signs of life turning up in the housing market suggest that our industry really has passed the worst of this economic downturn. Two years from now, we will look back at these tough times and remember how we were able to pull together as an industry and survive," said Thompson. "When we return in 2011, we'll be celebrating the 100th year anniversary of AWFS and the resurgence of our industry."
More than 165 students entered into the Fresh Wood national woodworking student design contest, and 46 were able to make the trip to Las Vegas with their teachers. For the first time ever, two high school students were awarded the Best of Show and People's Choice awards. Several TV crews taped live interviews with the students.
The woodworking media came out in full force. Many reporters were live blogging and podcasting from the show floor. Chris Grundy, host of the show "Cool Tools" on the DIY network filmed on the floor for two days," covering new products and doing exhibitor interviews.
In 2011, AWFS®Fair will return to the Las Vegas Convention Center, July 20-23. Please check http://www.awfsfair.org/ for updates.
About the AWFS®Fair: The full-scale AWFS®Fair has become a critical hub for international commerce in the woodworking industry. The AWFS®Fair brings together the entire home and commercial furnishings industry, including manufacturers and distributors of machinery, hardware, lumber, construction materials and other suppliers to the furniture, cabinet manufacturers and custom woodworkers.
For more information, visit www.awfs.org/.