A surprise spring snowfall and a challenging economic climate did impact attendance at Feb. 28-March 2 edition of the Atlanta Jewelry Show at the Cobb Galleria Center in Atlanta, but it did little to dampen the spirits of exhibitors and attendees, according to the show’s organizers, the Southern Jewelry Travelers Association.
“Who could have imagined snow in Atlanta .in March,” said Carol Young, executive director of Atlanta Jewelry Show producers, Southern Jewelry Travelers Association. “We entered into this show with cautious optimism based on our pre-registration numbers. While our attendance was down somewhat, the people who came were doing serious business. And, we focused our efforts on developing educational sessions, networking events and other programs designed to help retailers get through these challenging times and to be even stronger when the economy rebounds.”
Many exhibitors were pleasantly surprised with the business they wrote during the three-day event, according to SJTA.
“Traffic is down, but I’ve placed quite a few orders with existing and new customers,” said Liz Hyde-Donahue, Starhaven By Liz Donahue.
“Surprisingly, this was one of the best Atlanta Jewelry Shows we’ve had in over five years,” added Don LeStage, LeStage Manufacturing Co.
The SJTA complemented the show’s product selection with features like its “Tanks on Us” program that rewards retailers who pre-register and attend with a gas card. The SJTA Rewards program allows buyers to earng reward points for every dollar they spend on orders at the show that can, in turn, be redeemed for rewards ranging from electronics to travel packages.
The show also ramped up the hospitality at the High Flying Buyers Club with early access for members. On Saturday morning before the show opened, SJTA President Steve Binder (pictured right) helped direct the club’s members — retailers who have earned 15,000 SJTA reward points or more at any of the past 3 shows — to the High Flying Buyers Skylounge to enjoy complimentary breakfast. These members also had access to the lounge throughout the show where they could enjoy lunch, snacks and free internet access.
The educational program also drew retailers. One of the highlights was the roundtable discussion, SJTA’s Independence Town Hall Meeting: The State of the Independent Jeweler.
The spring show welcomed a number of first-time exhibitors. To help them get acquainted with the show and its buyers, a New Exhibitor Meet & Greet was held Sunday morning as part of the complimentary buyer breakfast program.
The candy-themed “How Sweet It Is” Atlanta Jewelry Show buyer gala featured sweet treats as and dancing. The evening also marked the retirement of long-time SJTA office coordinator Alan Colussy who has served the show and the association members for more than 30 years.