16742 Mon, 08/10/2009 - 1:30pm
By Allison Zisko
Enthused about the timing and the return to San Francisco’s Moscone Center, tabletop vendors at this year’s Gourmet Housewares Show are putting their best foot forward.
Vendors said they view the show as a platform not only for new products, but as a brand- and category-building opportunity, and an excellent chance to connect with potential retail partners in the West.
The new timing of the show, from its previous slot in the late spring to its current early August time frame, has gotten strong reviews from vendors who call it the ideal time to capture holiday sales and begin work on next spring. It is also running concurrent with the San Francisco International Gift Fair, which, like the Gourmet Housewares Show, is run by GLM. The overlap of two shows is considered perfect timing because it theoretically attracts a similar retail base.
“I definitely think that having the show in August will provide a big benefit to exhibitors and retailers alike,” said Monique Haas, marketing director for the Gourmac division of the Hutzler Manufacturing Company, which is launching a children’s plastic dinnerware collection called Play With Your Food. “Having it in August, as opposed to May, will be a boost for holiday sales. It is also a great opportunity to unveil our new products that typically are not ready in the spring. And, of course, who in this industry doesn’t like San Francisco?”
“I think moving the timing back was a great idea,” said Irv Zakheim, president of Zak Designs. “This way it pushes it out from IHA [the International Home and Housewares Show] in March, giving manufacturers six months to develop new products that they can showcase for the fall. And it gives retailers new ideas for products that they can spotlight for the next six months to help keep their shelves fresh. It’s a win-win move.”
Retail appointments for this show are a slightly trickier proposition. The poor economy has had an impact on overall show attendance this year, while the temporary nature of this particular show encourages walk-ins over appointments.
Many vendors are banking on foot traffic at the show. “Our target customers at this show are independent gourmet retailers, and they tend to walk the show and not to set appointments,” said Kathleen Donovan, product development manager for Lynns Concepts. “We have just come off a successful gift show in Atlanta and anticipate some additional traffic from the gift show in San Francisco. This will give us additional exposure to the western states.”
Zakheim said his company had appointments with its West Coast buyers as well as international buyers and “we are expecting quite a few new opportunities.”
Tervis Tumbler is attending the show for the first time in San Francisco. Jennifer Bement, media marketing manager for Tervis, said the company has had success booking meetings with local vineyards, a market “in which we are looking to expand.”
Tabletop makers hope to entice buyers, no matter how they get to the booth, with multi-functional products, whimsical designs, and nature-inspired themes. This being a gourmet show, tabletop vendors are focusing on serveware items and kitchen prep.
Retailer Martha Jenkins of Kitchenworks was excited about the opportunities in San Francisco this year.
“Traveling to buy helps all of us to reenergize our focus,” Jenkins said in a statement issued by GLM. “New ideas, contacts and experiences can all be gained in the charged environment of the Gourmet Housewares Show. The fact that the show takes place with the San Francisco International Gift Fair gives buyers the opportunity take part in both with one trip.”