Nov 26, 2003, 5:37 AM
Post #1 of 2
Too much was going on this summer/fall for proper attention to be given this.
Update on Conventions -- 2004 and where to find space!
We are looking at starting a regular convention/event series in the spring. Unlike other series that move from city to city, we are looking at setting up a regular Pittsburgh event. Most other conventions (intentionally?) bypass Pittsburgh, and I'd like to have somthing that is in the spirit of the city/region, not brought in by outsiders with other agendas.
We'd like to start small, maybe every 3 months, but we hope to turn it into a monthly event on the same weekend-- the 2nd weekend of the month looks good. We'd like it to be an all-day Saturday event (10am-8pm or later), with a half day Sunday (10am-4pm).
In this way, we don't need to rent/lease a huge space, we have a recurring-- and plannable -- calendar. Travelling bead vendors will be able to work it into their plans easily, and don't have to commit a long time in advance. But, we still need to have a place with about 3000 square feet, at least 2 smaller rooms that hold about 20 people each, and other ammenities (food, lodging, etc) near by. More than that would be great (if we can keep it filled), less than that would not allow enough space. A recurring show like this should have at least 15-20 vendors and exhibitors. Each needs about 100 sq feet, plus main isles. At least two class room areas need to be available.
We'd also like to keep it _VERY_ affordable!
I'm hoping to keep local/regional designers, vendors and suppliers interested, and allow them to reach customers on a recurring basis. Incentives to show up will be classes, demonstrations and similar.
The trouble has been finding a space that is available, affordable and ACCESSIBLE! Pittsburgh is a tough town to get around in, and accessibility is a prime consideration.
I'm open to both suggestions for space, and taking a list of vendors/exhibitors who'd be interested in setting up on a regular, or one-time (just passing through) basis.
If you know of space in the area, please let me know! Accessibility is key. Has to be reachable from both the north and south hills, east and west areas, and from the major access roads -- 79/279, Turnpike, etc. Good parking is a must. It has to be available on a monthly basis for the same weekend (2nd) each month. *AND* they need to be willing to work with us as a local Pittsburgh area business trying to bring new business to the region and promote exisiting [small] business. It's got to be a 'burgh thing, for those who know :)
I may be dreaming, but since our total space requirements are under 5000 square feet, I'm hoping that there will be some space that is over looked by larger annual type shows with much higher space requirements (and bigger event budgets). (Those conventions usually look for 6,000-10,000+).
Because we are local, we don't have to cover our travel, lodging, and other out-of-town expenses. Our management overhead should be pretty low. The only real expense is the hall rental itself, and advertising. I hope we can keep booth fees to a bare minimum because of that.
Since we are a brick and mortar store in Pittsburgh, we have a 24/7 presence in this town and region. That gives us an advantage in maintaining this sort of event. There is a central contact point, and even a drop-off point. We hope that is added incentive for people to deal with us, and work with us to develop this sort of convention/educational series.
We've been asked if we don't see this sort of thing as competition. I have to answer emphatically NO! Anything that brings more variety in is better for everyone! We have a physical presence in Pittsburgh, and are a 24/7 resource for people who want to browse, pick up emergency supplies, or learn new skills year round -- not one or two days a year, or month. We can't possibly stock everything. We hope to develop relationships with other vendors to get new inventory for our store, and new outlets for what we do get in wholesale lots. The more exchange and interchange -- especially on a monthly basis -- the more "stuff" there is for everyone all the time.
We don't even imagine setting up at every convention ourselves. We'll most likely run some classes or demonstrations, and just visit the other booths. Our shop is here (and open) 6 days a week (including the convention weekends). The idea of the convention is to bring in OUTSIDE/OTHER vendors and products.
I hope this is a good update, and answers some of the questions I've been recently asked in several emails.
PUGDOG's Rock & Bead Shop
Pittsburgh, PA 15217