LOUISVILLE, KY – It’s been a tough year for many in the industry, but GIE+EXPO 2009 showed few traces of the economic downturn during Halloween weekend in Louisville, Ky., October 29-31. With nearly 16,600 participants for an all-inclusive event, dealer/retailer registrations were up 2 percent from 2008 with nearly 5,400.  About 6,300 lawn and landscape pros attended the show. And, specific attendance numbers show trends for economic rebound in 2010 as merchandiser/buyer registrations were up 18 percent, lawn & garden centers were up 25 percent and distributor numbers were up 9 percent from last year’s show.

“These numbers bode well for the industry,” said show director Warren Sellers.  “They show that people invested time and money to do one thing – spec equipment.”

New features such as the New Products Arena and the High-Performance Service Pavilion, as well as educational sessions for all segments of the industry, were well received and added value to the show for attendees and exhibitors alike.

The New Products Arena featured 70 new products from 50 exhibiting companies and was where attendees and press came to see product launches from the industry’s leading manufacturers as well as start-up companies looking to make a big splash at GIE+EXPO. Additionally, 13 exhibitors were center stage at GIE+EXPO during press conferences held on the New Products Arena stage.

For the first time ever, attendees as well as the press were invited to sit in on these product launches and presentations. Other exhibitors who held press conferences on the New Products Arena stage included Agri-Fab, Ariens, Avalanche by Ledex Industries, B3C Fuel Solutions, Big Dog Mowers, Cub Cadet, Exmark, Grass Stitcher, Honda Engines, Husqvarna, John Deere, Kawasaki Motor Corp., Outdoor Power Equipment Institute and The Toro Company.

The High-Performance Service Pavilion was a big draw for dealers and service department managers who were looking for better ways to improve the efficiency and profitability of their service departments. A how-to pavilion simulated a highly efficient service department and featured sponsors, including Ariens, Cub Cadet, Husqvarna, Hustler Turf Equipment, Stens and STIHL, showcasing their best-practice strategies. Bob Clements International and ARI Network Services, Inc. were on hand to provide training and tours of the pavilion during scheduled times.  Lifts for the pavilion were provided by Heftee Industries, and business management software was provided by Ideal Computer Systems.

Educational sessions for dealers and lawn and landscape pros were well attended by people looking for best-practice solutions and answers to the tough questions being asked within the industry.

“This was our first-time at GIE+EXPO and we enjoyed the complete experience,” said Doug McDuff, president of Landscape America based in Wrentham, MA.  “From the new products and innovations to the demo area and the education sessions, we got a lot out of the show. And, we are already planning to come back in 2010 just to keep up with the industry’s newest trends.”  McDuff was one of the winners of PRO Magazine’s Pros in Excellence Awards for 2009.

GIE+EXPO hosted nearly 500 exhibiting companies from all over the world.  They displayed throughout more than 500,000 net sq. ft. of space indoors and out.  About 100 of them, covering 16,550 sq. ft. of space, had not exhibited last year.   In addition to benefiting from education, networking and the indoor displays, visitors could walk outside to the 19-acre demonstration area for hands-on product comparisons offered each day by nearly 100 companies.

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