Urban Expositions has acquired the California Gift Show from Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., a move that furthers Urban Expositions’ plans “to revitalize the trade show marketplace for retailers throughout southern California,” according to a statement from Urban Expositions.
The management transition will take place following the July 2012 edition of the semi-annual show held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. And instead of launching a gift show in Anaheim as previously announced, the company said it will expand and enhance the existing California Gift Show.
Atlanta-based Urban Expositions purchased the Portland Gift Show and West Coast Cash & Carry Shows from Western Exhibitors last year, the San Francisco International Gift Fair and Seattle Gift Show from dmg world media in 2009, and launched the Las Vegas Souvenir & Resort Gift Show in 2007.
“We seized the opportunity to buy this show as we felt it could accelerate our efforts to rebuild the southern California gift market’s brand as a leading trend, product and style resource,” said Doug Miller, president, Urban Expositions. “Our original plans to launch a new event in Anaheim were grounded in our firm belief that the timing and market conditions were right to pour significant resources into bringing a fresh, vibrant show to the region’s substantial buyer base. We’ll be able to accomplish this goal much quicker and better serve the overall marketplace by using those same resources to build upon the foundation of the established California Gift Show and the synergistic opportunities that exist with neighboring permanent showroom buildings.”
Mark Falanga, president of MMPI, said Urban Expositions is “well-equipped” to bring the California Gift Show into the next generation and “will infuse it with significant resources, energy, enthusiasm, and fresh ideas that will stabilize the southern California Giftware marketplace.”
At the conclusion of this month’s California Gift Show, which takes place July 27-30, Urban Expositions will take overall sales, marketing, operations and other day-to-day duties for the Jan. 25-28, 2013, California Gift Show and all future editions of the semi-annual show.
Urban said it plans to significantly expand the exhibitor base of the California Gift Show and will target a Winter 2013 show opening with more than 2,000 domestic and international lines. The popular destination categories of Kentia Hall—World Style, Jewelry Cash & Carry and Vintage will continue. Order writing will be expanded to include Design LA, Handcrafted, Gifts, Personal Style (including Spa) and two new categories, Outdoor Living and Boardwalk. Outdoor Living will focus on the casual lifestyle unique to Southern California and Boardwalk will feature souvenir, resort, beach and board sport resources.
Show Director Dirk von Gal will oversee sales efforts. Von Gal will report to Joan Ulrich, vice president of new business development, who joined Urban last year from MMPI where she was responsible for building revenues for the company’s permanent showroom buildings and trade shows in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.