The cancellation of The Inspired Home Show was met with strong support by housewares vendors and retailers, who said health and safety considerations far outweighed their disappointment over the cancelled show.
Vendors and retailers told GOURMET INSIDER® they already are working on alternative ways to introduce and learn about new products and marketing programs.
This is what industry members contacted by Gourmet Insider had to say:
KC Lapiana, president, HTI Buying Group: “HTI acknowledges the thoughtfulness and attention to the welfare of the housewares community that the board of IHA conducted in their decision to cancel The Inspired Home Show. HTI Buying Group understands the importance that this cancellation has created with the loss of opportunities of not only HTI vendors but all vendors that were ready to participate. In addition, we also realize and acknowledge our duty to the housewares industry, and this cancellation does not have to mean loss in opportunities, sales and face-face presentations. As such, HTI is presenting a Virtual Showcase to help independent housewares retailers who planned to attend the show and those who had decided not to attend.”
Karmin Billadeau, owner, Karmin’s Kitchen Table in Bismarck, ND: “We are fortunate that we have good relationships with our vendors and sales reps. We have already heard from vendors asking what they can do to help get information to us about new products.”
Janis Johnson, president, GC Buying Group: “The GC Team is disappointed that we will miss the opportunity to gather with our members in Chicago at the show. This is a setback for everyone, and we are communicating with vendors to ensure our stores have access to information they would have received at the show. The GC Review Workbook, prepared and usually distributed to our members in Chicago, will be updated and mailed to all members next week. Each vendor has a printed page of information for GC store members. The GC team will continue to create ways for keeping stores and vendors informed.”
Ashley Berry, owner, Someone’s In The Kitchen in Rapid City, SD: “Going forward, we will definitely be relying on our reps more than ever. We always appreciate them under normal circumstances, but this atmosphere brings another level of importance to our communication with key reps. I’ve called a few of our really good reps to gain insight into supply forecasts, because we don’t know what will or won’t be available in the coming months We’ll also be relying on communication from vendors directly. Our main focus is to make sure this doesn’t affect our ability to supply our customers with quality kitchen products, so I’ve been asking around to see who is anticipating shortages and for how long. Emailed catalogs and special documents highlighting new products will be more important than ever. We’ll have to rely on Internet and phone communication when deciding what to buy. I think vendors who can send detailed pictures with ongoing communication will be the first to succeed in this new buying environment. We definitely have sympathy for all the vendors who have invested so much in this show. I’m interested to see what kind of creativity comes from this obstacle.”
Dave West, executive chef/owner, Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium in Brandon, FL: “We will suffer from not being able to find new vendors and products, and we also will miss the time to interact with other retailers and vendors. We need our reps even more to provide good photos and videos, and they will need samples to show.”
Rob Walling, vp/sales, Cangshan Cutlery Company: “Instead of having the face-to-face meetings that we had planned on, we will be ramping up our social media outreach and direct emails to let both our existing customers and potential new ones know about the new items we have for this year. While you cannot replace the ability to look someone in the eyes and create the rapport necessary to make good business partners, email and the phone are still effective, if handled with respect for people’s time. It will be a challenging year, but we are doing our best to minimize any disruptions in our sales forecast for the year by relying on technology to bridge the gap.”
Sara de la Hera, vp/sales and marketing, Zavor America: “We believe it was the right move at this time. It is understandable everyone wants to be cautious, retailers and manufacturers alike. And since there are still many unanswered questions about the outbreak in the U.S., it makes sense to play it safe. These days everything is digital, and we are going to take full advantage of the technology at our disposal. We will be doing video calls and ‘virtual walk-throughs’ of our new products. Our sales representative network will be equipped with all the materials they need for their presentations both in person and digitally. We plan on attending summer shows to present new products in person to retailers and will be working diligently with our public relations firm to reach all media outlets as well.”
John Bundy, director, USA Pan: “We really look forward to the Chicago show the most every year. It gives us a chance to brainstorm with many of our current accounts and also meet with new potential clients. We understand the concern and respect the decision of the IHA. Although we missed meeting everyone in person this year, we are prepared to manage our accounts and showcase our new product through other means of communications.”
Bobby Griggs, VP/Heritage Steel and Hammer Stahl: “The cancellation of The Inspired Home show has created an array of thoughts and emotions for me personally and our team. Our immediate reaction was one of sadness because we look forward to spending time with our customers and our contemporaries in the industry. The housewares community really is a small close knit group. Obviously, we also hate to miss the opportunity to share new programs and opportunities with our partners. Ultimately, we trust the IHA and believe that they made the best decision possible to protect the health and safety of each individual and the community as whole. We as a company will make the best of the situation and find ways to overcome the challenges of not having the show this year.”
Uri Murad, CEO, Kalorik: “Although we were disappointed to hear of the show’s cancellation, we trust that it was the right decision; health and safety are of the utmost importance and we will always put people’s well-being first. As a proactive response, we are investing in an exciting alternative to present our top innovations of the year to our valued retail partners.”