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Hearth & Home May 2018

HPBExpo 2018: Success in Nashville

The surveys and reviews are in, the numbers are crunched and HPBExpo 2018 in Nashville was a quantifiable success! With attendees and exhibitors coming in from all over the world, registration was up 26% over HPBExpo 2017 and was the largest audience of the last several Expos.

Our host city of Nashville, which has always been great for HPBExpo, is one reason why. It’s centrally located, easy to get to from anywhere in the country and provides plenty of opportunity for networking and fun. In the words of one attendee, “We were able to conduct productive, face-to-face meetings with our current suppliers and found some great new products. We were also able to squeeze in some fun too!” It’s no wonder that Nashville is now in the permanent rotation and we’ll be back there in 2021.

In the meantime, HPBExpo will be Going BIG in Dallas in March 2019, a new city for us and one that offers many of the same conveniences and experiences. Survey results tell us that a great majority of the 2018 attendees and exhibitors plan to go, and they’ll be telling their friends and colleagues to attend as well.

The majority of attendees in Nashville were individuals who make the decisions about what products to purchase for the upcoming retail season, such as owners, executives, and managers. With an additional 20% of the attendees in sales, this is their opportunity to talk directly with manufacturers about the latest products. This will make them more efficient sales leaders for the industry.

Why do so many retailers make the time commitment to attend HPBExpo? More than nine out of 10 say it is to meet with existing partners/vendors. They want to see what is new and exciting and ready for their stores and customers. 97% of attendees report that they attend HPBExpo to see new products.

Exhibitors, on the other hand, attributed their participation to the quality of the attendees (94%), the ability to build brand recognition (93%), and to maintain relationships with key accounts (92%).

HPBExpo 2018 had 377 exhibitors; of the total, 323 were North American and 58 identified as international. With 77 first-time exhibitors, reports are in that their experience met or exceeded their expectations at a higher rate than the past few years. In the words of one, “‘My advice for next year’s 1st-time exhibitors is ‘be prepared for large crowds!’”

Just as the attendees expect to see new exhibitors and their products, and new products from legacy exhibitors, they also expect to see new events at HPBExpo.

This year’s HPBExpo featured several new and returning events. After a long hiatus, HPBExpo 2018 featured a keynote address by David Brown, Partner at Hoffman York. Brown took the audience through the results of an extensive research study, sponsored by Napoleon Products, that revealed how the homeowner’s views and values of various rooms have evolved, and what can be done from a design standpoint to increase purchase intent. Participants who attended received some great takeaways, including a 24-page brochure of the research study and a hardcover book filled with design ideas and techniques.

HPBExpo also introduced its attendees to Barbecue Your Breakfast with celebrity chef Andreas Rummel, internationally acclaimed BBQ & grilling expert. Showcasing grillable breakfast creations, he provided new ideas that retailers could do themselves during an in-store demo. With humor, innovative techniques and plenty of samples for the attendees, Chef Rummel showcased his talents on Napoleon Grills and produced some delicious results.

The HPBExpo Outdoor Burn Area, which always attracts a crowd with the latest outdoor cooking and heating products in action, also hosted the ever-popular Big Green Egg Cookoff. This year’s contest had six HPBA-Affiliate grilling teams competing hard to win over three celebrity judges – the Food Network’s Kevin Roberts, Operation BBQ’s Stan Hays, and Kansas City Barbeque Society’s Carolyn Wells.

Standing-room only education sessions were par for the course in 2018. More than 30 educations sessions – both indoors and out in the Outdoor Burn Area – were designed by the HPB Education Foundation to help industry professionals increase sales, improve business efficiency, and strengthen technical competencies.

The 18th Annual Vesta Awards Ceremony attracted approximately 1,200 people to the Music City Center’s ballroom. The event was put on by Hearth & Home magazine. It began with a Wine & Beer Reception, and then moved to the presentation of awards in 15 different categories.

“It’s like the home show, but on steroids,” stated an attendee as she entered the exhibit hall. That is the goal – make HPBExpo the most important event that showcases the indoor-outdoor living industry’s products. With 74% of attendees believing that HPBExpo displays the most innovative industry products, services and technologies, 2018 was a great success.

See you in Dallas in March 2019! Go BIG!

The HPBA Journal is intended to provide in-depth information to the hearth and outdoor products industries. Statements of fact and opinion are the responsibility of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the officers, board, staff or members of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association.

Copyright ©2018 by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association is prohibited. Direct requests for permission to use material published in the HPBA Journal to

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