Expectations are high for the 2013 Kitchen/Bath Industry Show in New Orleans this month, thanks in part to a late-in-the-game development only three months before opening day. The National Kitchen and Bath Association revealed in January it is collocating KBIS with the International Builders’ Show for three years beginning in 2014. This news injected excitement into the housing industry, and has added exhibitors to this year’s show.
“Since the collocation announcement, we’ve been overwhelmed with the number of exhibitors rushing to fill show floor space for the 2013 show,” says John Morgan, 2013 NKBA president, and owner of Morgan Pinnacle, Glyndon, Md., a manufacturer’s representative for cabinetry and technology brands. “There’s a lot of excitement and preparation for the 2014 show, which we interpret as a sign that manufacturers have a more positive outlook on the economy.”
Attendance at KBIS has been up for the past two years, and NKBA is expecting to see an increase again this year. “When I have spoken to NKBA chapters over the past two months, it has been a pleasure hearing people discussing what to do and where go in New Orleans, which is a much better discussion than whether they will go at all,” Morgan says.
This year’s KBIS features improvements to the education component. Two years ago when KBIS was in Las Vegas, only a handful of educational sessions were available, Morgan recalls. “This year we have more than 80 sessions. In addition to focusing on design trends, we’re taking a 360-degree approach to business topics, including increasing cash flow, hiring staff, best practices and more. The education is comprehensive for any type of business, whether someone is a kitchen and bath designer, a builder or a remodeler.”
Additions and improvements
KBIS 2013 once again features successful elements such as Best of KBIS, as well as new programs such as design centers on the show floor, staffed by well-known designers and bloggers, where attendees can meet them, share ideas and discuss projects. “Another new program is the 30 Under 30, which highlights the next generation in our business,” Morgan says. “These are professionals who already have achieved success at a young age. We’re going to bring them to KBIS, let them soak it in and ask them to share their knowledge.”
The event Morgan is most excited about is the design competition awards. In past years, he says, NKBA has not given the awards the attention they deserve. “This year, the night before KBIS opens, we’re having a special event at a great venue in the warehouse district. The awards will be the sole focus that night,” he says.
Shows come together
The announcement of the collocation with the International Builders’ Show, which is owned by the National Association of Home Builders, has rejuvenated a housing market in need of rejuvenation. The positives of this agreement far outweigh the negatives, Morgan says, which is why NKBA could not pass up the opportunity to be a cornerstone of a mega event such as what’s being called “design and construction week.”
“For the past several years, there has been a push by KBIS attendees and exhibitors to transform KBIS. The opportunity presented itself and we had to take it,” Morgan explains.
The combined audience in 2014 should be roughly 75,000. IBS and KBIS will retain separate identities and separate floor space within the Las Vegas Convention Center. The three-year collocation agreement ends after the 2016 shows, but, Morgan says, “We can’t imagine it not continuing.”