2008 CENTS Show in Columbus, Ohio (7)

Time for a few shots from the trade show floor. A smaller trade show floor than 2007, and a much smaller show floor than 2005. The show is getting smaller, and it seems everyone now notice’s this trend.

Why? I don’t know . . . there are probably several factors at work, and several reasons I’m sure I know nothing about. Most attendees I asked did not speculate the main reason for the smaller show on the impending economic slowdown-if there is even going to be one.

Semco Booth, a stone, paver, supplier From CENTS 2008

The above shows how most stone suppliers try and sell their wares, by giving us a great idea on how to design, install, sell these products. They are appealing to our senses, and we got that lifestyle thing going on. Gotta push that lifestyle thing.

Below is a nice looking fountain and I cannot find in my notes which booth this is-I will keep looking because I think this was a good one and they need the recognition, I think they need the recognition-but hey what do I know.

Dangit’, booth unknown, From CENTS 2008

Below is some pottery from the American Pottery company near Atlanta, Ga. These are high fired pots, and the glazing is really great. I considered taking some of these home with me, but I didn’t have the room at the time. Ordering and shipping seem to be in my future.

100 or more in the booth, From CENTS 2008

There were several vendors at the show selling pottery. I do not see this trend slowing down anytime soon, that is . . . to use big pots, urns, colorful vases, “plant holders” in the landscape.

The technology for pots is getting better concerning frost/freeze resistance and that will open up markets and allow folks like me more options in designing patio, seating, walkway areas etc.

This display below was the Techo-Bloc booth, suppliers of concrete products that they want to look like stone. We all know how many different types of these products are out there( a lot), and there seems to be no end in sight. Pavers, walls, steps, columns caps . . . you name it . . . it’s made in concrete to look like stone.

Good or bad, I’m not sure . . . but it is what it is. These products are not going away.

I’m a stone freak and would always use stone but I recognize the economic impact of using the concrete product. The products are getting better in strength, color, texture, and overall aesthetic. These products are here to stay.

Here’s another image where we are looking at the other end of the display booth showing the “kitchen”.

Just needs a fridge, From CENTS 2008

That is a very, small sampling of the trade show floor. I never shoot pictures of trucks, skid-steers, etc. As for trees, shrubs, perennials I could have taken a lot of shots but for some reason I never seem to be compelled to take those types of images. Those booths always look the same.

That will do it on the CENTS Show for this year. Time to look to the season, which is one of the great things about this show. The optimism it brings to all the attendees for the season ahead. Onward we go.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.

1 comment

  1. As a Lawn and Garden Sale Representative in New England, I read this post with interest. The big New England Grows trade show is coming up in early February. It was interesting to note that you mentioned that the CENTS Show is smaller and getting smaller every year. I have been concerned with the ‘industry’ shows and have a couple possible reasons for the size reduction. These shows are held in winter or late winter and lawn and garden sales for spring are done in early to late fall. This means that all of the early orders, orders which are written with extended dating and discounts, are done! The shows are now being managed by outside groups with little interest in what the vendors are doing there which is primarily trying to selling product. The cost of a show to a vendor is appreciable and without the sales to back up the cost, vendors are pulling out. These shows would be better scheduled in September and October which is the time that the industry distributor shows take place. Many garden centers are ordering more and more from distributors directly. I hope someone sits up and pays attention but maybe the time has passed for these big shows.

    Several things
    *** many vendors told me they now write little or no business at the CENTS Show-I noted that most of these were selling stuff that belongs in garden centers, which plays right into what you said.
    *** A lot of traffic is landscape contractors, these guys are buying green goods, a lot of guys still pre-order “x” amount of material at show discounts and then plop that work into their upcoming jobs. They buy some good deals and find jobs to squeeze this stuff into.
    *** design-build firms, some jobs have already been designed so they buy for those, and some are anticipated so they can buy for those also.

    What we really have is the old shotgun approach still going on. This show and others is trying to be all things to all facets of the industry; you’re right, it’s an old modal and it appears it isn’t working like it used to.

    I feel the same way about the educational component and it’s shotgun approach to educating the masses . . . I don’t think it works at all.
    Finally the shows are being bought up by “show producers” the name Hanley-Woods comes to mind. it seems to be changing but I don’t know which way. I wish I did.

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