An Intriguing Trade Show Scene

The trade show scene in the kitchen and bath industry has gotten a little more crowded and a whole lot more intriguing now that the dust has fully settled from April's K/BIS in Orlando.

The reason? Recent announcements regarding the launch of two new trade shows aimed at a kitchen/bath market that's still vibrant, still growing, still attracting compelling new players . . . yet somehow is still not being served in some important way by K/BIS, at least in the eyes of the shows' organizers.

The new events, scheduled to launch late this year and next, are as different in their goals and approach as night and day.

One of them being called The Luxury Kitchen and Bath Collection will be aimed at delivering an intimate, boutique-style event for an "overlooked" high-end niche whose unique characteristics, organizers contend, are currently not being addressed.'

The second show a far more broad-based initiative known as ISH North America is being promoted as a North American version of the massive European plumbing products show ISH, and will be aimed at providing an annual event that embraces such industry sectors as heating, ventilation, air technology, plumbing supplies, kitchen and bath products and building automation.

Despite their differences, however, the new show ventures contain at least one key common thread: They're either owned or will be marketed by the Davis Peterson Collaborative LLC, a Dallas-based company formed recently by Todd Davis and Alan Peterson, two executives who were once closely associated with K/BIS.

Davis and Peterson young, energetic and hungry are movers and shakers who bring a lot to the table. And their presence alone should make the new shows worthy of note.

Until several months ago, when he joined Peterson in the formation of their company, Davis had been a v.p. at Miller Freeman, Inc., where he headed the operation of magazines Web sites and trade shows including K/BIS in the building, real estate and design industries. Peterson had been group director of Miller Freeman's Building Group, and was responsible for the daily management, financial control, marketing and sales activities of K/BIS and several other properties.

Those types of resumes, of course, provide Davis and Peterson with a keen working knowledge of the kitchen and bath industry. Their background also provides them with two other assets that are invaluable for trade show launches: contacts and relationships.
Clearly, Davis and Peterson will be attempting to leverage their experience and relationships in developing the new shows.

It remains to be seen, at this point in the game, whether that will be enough to persuade exhibitors from abandoning K/BIS, splitting their allegiances between the shows, or adding to their expenditures at a time when they've been clamoring for fewer trade shows, not more.
In other words, it remains to be seen if manufacturers and specifiers will view these new ventures as serious and valuable options, or simply as well-intentioned dreams.
Other questions, too, remain to be answered. For example:

  • Can K/BIS continue to maintain its growth and stature as the premier industry event if it's surrounded by other shows that whittle away at its potential base of exhibitors and attendees?
  • Can the European-based trade show producer Messe Frankfurt, Inc. take its successful formula for ISH, and apply it to North America in a show that attempts to merge kitchen/bath products including cabinets and countertops with products typically aimed at plumbing contractors?
  • Can the new shows really make a go of it as separate entities, or are they being conceived to eventually co-locate with K/BIS in one all-inclusive, consolidated industry event that meets the needs of everyone?
    For now, what's clear is that the industry has more choices and that is good. K/BIS, which marked its 20th year in April, is an extraordinary show. It will be interesting to see how the industry responds to other options now that they're available.