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SAN FRANCISCO— The GourmetHousewares Show returns to San Francisco this year, bringing the show back to its roots in the City by the Bay.
Attendees of this year’s event, to be held August 8-10 at the Moscone Center, will find all the elements that helped originally give the show its unique flavor: gourmet products, a wide variety of outstanding restaurants, access to nearby wine country and a culinary culture that is among the finest in the country.
Attendees will also find a number of new things that show organizer George Little Management (GLM) believes will make it a destination for gourmethousewares stores and other retailers looking to embrace gourmethousewares.
“One of the biggest changes people will find is the new timing,” said Penny Sikalis, gourmet show manager for GLM. “The new August time frame gets the show out of the very crowded first half of the year and, for the independent retailer, which has always been the heart of the show, the timing allows them to look for new things right before they head into the holiday selling season.”
Even for larger retailers, who may have seen products in prototype form at the early spring shows, the August time frame provides the opportunity to see finished goods and packaging concepts prior to rollout. “With many retailers working with leaner inventories, the timing will also allow them to have a good idea of what their inventory levels are,” enabling them to manage last-minute needs, Sikalis explained.
In addition to the traditional upscale product offerings in cookware, bakeware, cutlery, tools, gadgets, tabletop and textiles, GLM has also carved out new and dedicated space this year for a gourmet foods section. And while the category is not new to the show, Sikalis explained, this year GLM has brought all gourmet food purveyors together, creating a coordinated presentation within the show.
“Another thing that’s new this year is our co-location with the San Francisco International Gift Fair,” Sikalis said. “That show encompasses 800 vendors and about 11,000 attendees adding to the overall size of the market and opening up additional opportunities for both our vendor and retailer attendees.”
In an effort to provide added value to its retail attendees, GLM has teamed with The Gourmet Catalog and HTI Buying Group, the leading gourmethousewares buying groups, to offer educational programs on the Friday before the show opens (see stories on page 8). The two educational programs are designed to give store operators insights and strategies aimed at more effectively operating their businesses.
GLM is also collaborating with the Gold Gate Restaurant Association, which is running a Food and Wine Festival taking place at the same time as the GourmetHousewares Show.
“We’ve worked out a number of amenities that will enable our attendees to take advantage of the festival during the evening hours,” said Sikalis. GLM has extended invitations to association restaurants and shops designed to encourage their attendance to the show, providing an additional potential shopping audience for exhibitors.
The show operator has also teamed with local neighborhood associations to keep local restaurants and shops open and to provide discounts to show attendees.
Sikalis noted that several other initiatives were in process at presstime, details of which would be released closer to show time.
To help show attendees maximize their show experience, Sikalis recommends using the Gourmet Show site, thegourmetshow.com, which includes vendor lists as well as online catalogs from many participating vendors, to help retail attendees plan better prior to the show.
“We also encourage every single retailer to come to the show with an open mind when it comes to discovering new product,” said Sikalis. “San Francisco is a great atmosphere and this show, we believe, is a great place to spend time with vendors, build relationships and discover exciting new things for the stores.”
Villeroy & Boch’s La Classica Contura features a design inspired by the domes and rotundas of Europe. The collection boasts strong lines with architectural undertones. It is made from dishwasher and microwave-safe bone porcelain.