Welcome to the JCK Las Vegas show! Hard to believe it’s that time of year again, but many of you are probably reading this in the thick of the 10 crazy days that are JCK Las Vegas, LUXURY, and Reed Jewelry Group’s new show, JIS Exchange at the Tropicana. Whew!
We’re very excited about this year’s edition of Vegas: The Mandalay Bay Convention Center has expanded dramatically on the first floor, while converting much of the second floor to ballroom space. These changes provided JCK with the opportunity to rethink the entire floor layout, further advancing the show’s effort to create “departments” on the floor with similar manufacturers grouped together to make the buying experience better.
Look for a new Plumb Club, a new Italian pavilion, and an expanded LUXURY show upstairs. Downstairs, you’ll encounter a new Design Center, an all-new Bridge department, and areas dedicated to Silver, First Look, and Bridal. A short shuttle ride away is the new JIS Exchange at the Tropicana, where the big “cash and carry” brands you’ve shopped for years have been given their own new show.
My preshow crazy travel season wrapped up with a three-leg trip from New York City to Washington, D.C., to attend the American Gem Society Conclave, to Chicago for the Smart Show at the Navy Pier. It was a particularly strong AGS this year. The hotel location did not tempt attendees away with the lures of a New Orleans or San Francisco. Instead, most attendees stayed put, creating a really wonderful networking atmosphere, from the keynote breakfasts all the way through to late-night cocktails at the hotel bar. A highlight for me was Gen. Colin Powell’s keynote address on the second day. In an election year where the bar keeps getting raised in terms of offensive speech, insults, extremist positions, etc., it was a delight to listen to a truly experienced patriot explain just how great things in America are.
The Conclave is also my best opportunity to meet and greet retailers—the heart and soul of everything we do at JCK. Getting to spend time yakking with the likes of Craig and Laura Underwood of Underwood’s Fine Jewelers in Fayetteville, Ark., is a gift! Congrats to AGS outgoing CEO Ruth Batson (Ruth, we’ll miss you!) and her entire dedicated team.
The Smart Show always provides a last-minute-before-Vegas opportunity to see friends and clients and eat and drink, too! I also learned my friend Matthijs Braakman has been promoted to CEO of SmartWork Media (publisher of InStore magazine), as industry veteran Dan Kisch moves up to a board member role. Congrats, Matthijs! I couldn’t ask for a better competitor.
I know I will see friends from around the world (literally) this week, and although the whole of it is a blur, I’m always sad when it ends. See you soon!
Top: The AGS Conclave is always hopping; this year’s edition, in Washington, D.C., was no exception.
(Smelzer: photograph by Michael Falco)