CHICAGO–In what represents an unprecedented joint effort in the housewares industry, the International Housewares Association and George Little Management are surveying vendors on industry shows.
Although neither party wanted to speculate, it is GLM’s Gourmet Housewares Show that is at the center of the survey, as both parties try to determine if there is need for a second show and if so, when and where.
If there is a positive response, one possible scenario is that IHA and GLM could possibly support or sponsor the Gourmet show together, although both organizations stressed that no pre-conceived conclusions had been reached, pending the results of the survey. Changes in IHA’s flagship show in March in Chicago are not being contemplated.
“We could be open to a joint sponsorship,” said Phil Brandl, president of the IHA, “but there are no specific plans. This is just phase one.”
“We are always looking at our shows and we are looking at the Gourmet show particularly,” said Alan Steel, executive vice president of GLM. “We want to extend our commitment to the show.”
The survey, which will be e-mailed to IHA members and Gourmet show exhibitors who are not association members, asks for a response within seven days and Brandl said it is reasonable to expect the two organizations to announce its conclusions by the end of September.
The Gourmet event, which once functioned as almost a second housewares show when it was held in May and IHA’s Chicago Housewares show was in January, began to suffer over the past few years when Housewares moved to March, placing the two events barely eight weeks apart. The Gourmet show also struggled as it moved out of San Francisco to other locations, including Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla., and New Orleans.
This year it returned to San Francisco but in August, run in conjunction with the local gift show. The show was positively reviewed by those in attendance but both its size and attendance base were relatively small.
In 2010, it is scheduled for Aug. 7-9, again at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center.
“We continue to believe the Gourmet show is necessary,” said Steel, “but we wanted to see if there are other ways to do it.”
The survey, which vendors can answer online, can be found at www.housewares.org