Improvements Continue As NSSF Opens 35th Annual Trade Show
Organizers of the 2013 SHOT Show are putting the final touches on the industry’s largest trade show to be held Jan. 15-18 in Las Vegas. NSSF and Reed Exhibitions continue to work with the Sands Convention Center to enhance the facility, with the goal of providing the most value for exhibitors and attendees. From a low point three years ago, the show has bounced back.
“I’m really pleased everyone has been able to work so well together to make the necessary changes,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president and CEO, recalling the poor rating the 2010 show received. “Going into the next show, it was palpable — everyone was looking at us very harshly, and saying, ‘OK, what are you guys going to do to fix this show?’ And I’m happy to say we succeeded. We wouldn’t have without the work, patience and cooperation we got from everyone.”
Evidence of the event’s turnaround is borne out in the NSSF SHOT Show 2012 Report, sent to exhibitors in the fall. From a low satisfaction rating of 32 percent in 2010, exhibitor satisfaction rose to 75 percent in 2012. Attendee satisfaction went from 49 percent in 2010 to 82 percent during 2012 show.
“I think the overall experience will be better, and attendees and exhibitors will continue to see improvements in the show,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF’s senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “I feel really good about how far we’ve come, and the direction we’re headed with the SHOT Show.”
Mark Kresser, president and CEO of Taurus, said NSSF has done a good job of dealing with some of the problems that plagued the show.
“There’s been a high level of consistency over the past couple of years, and that’s what people were looking for: predictability and consistency. Now people know exactly what to expect when they go to the SHOT Show, and they’re getting good at navigating the venue,” Kresser said.
Sponsored by ArmaLite, the SHOT Mobile app provides access to extensive
show information. Visit www.shotshow.org to download.
Upgrades For 2013
Neither NSSF nor the Sands has been complacent since the highly rated 2012 show, officials say.
“The Sands is undergoing a renovation,” said Deidra Cauley, NSSF’s director of exhibitions and conferences. “They’re renovating the front lobby area, as well as Level 1. Their goal is to update the area and open it up, and provide better traffic flow. They’re making changes to the stairs and the escalators that will make it easier for attendees to get back and forth between exhibits on the first and second floors. We also will be able to offer more seating on Level 1 near the New Product Center.”
In addition, NSSF is increasing the use of upgraded signage to help attendees navigate the show.
“One thing we learned from last year is electronic signage really made an impact,” Cauley said. “As a result, we’re going to continue to use electronic signage, and we’re supposed to have some additional video screens for more signage.”
ArmaLite Inc. is once again the sponsor of SHOT Mobile for the show. Attendees will find the SHOT Mobile app an invaluable tool for searching exhibitors, navigating the show floor via interactive maps, finding new products, learning about show specials, viewing the show’s education schedule, setting up appointments with exhibitors, requesting callbacks and finding show services.
During the show, NSSF plans to provide better coverage for attendees who use smartphones and high-tech tablets. Last year, attendees experienced some bandwidth issues with the SHOT Show mobile app, so along with the renovation, NSSF is working with the convention center to address those issues.
“We’re going to have four hot spots like we had last year,” Cauley said. “If the cell phone communication improvements come through as planned, we may not need any more hot spots.”
Cauley said NSSF is working with the convention center to upgrade cell phone communication throughout the facility.
“The current plan is to have 4G on all major carriers in time for the show,” she said. “However, I need to stress that we’re reliant on the carriers to make these changes.”
Dolnack said the increase in 4G coverage means attendees’ phones should work anywhere in the exhibit hall.
“In addition, the amount of information attendees can download should increase by about a third,” he said. “When they’re using their mobile app, they should be able to download that data more quickly. Both NSSF and the Sands recognized we needed to make these changes for the benefit of our customers.”
NSSF continues to refine the type of exhibitors permitted at the show.
Developing The Right Exhibitor Mix
“We’ve gone back to the core categories for hunting and shooting,” she said. “We have grandfathered in a few other exhibitors, because they’ve been with the show for many years. But as we go through the waiting list, if a potential exhibitor is not appropriate for the show, we’re telling them that now, and removing them from the waiting list. That lets us move firearms and ammunition companies up the wait list a little faster.”
Finding the right mix of core categories and accessory manufacturers is a delicate balance, Cauley said.
“We’re trying to get away from things people don’t use when they’re hunting or shooting,” she said. “It’s a tough call for us.”
Dolnack called finding that delicate balance “a journey.”
“It’s never going to be a destination,” he said. “Last year we had the best satisfaction rating we’ve ever had, but it wasn’t 100 percent. We still want continuous improvement. We have eliminated categories and repurposed the SHOT Show exhibit floor so we can get more firearms and ammunition and core accessory companies into the show and off the waiting list. We’ve removed 100 companies from the waiting list that don’t fit the show. All of this was done for the long-term health of the show, which provides 80 percent of the revenue for NSSF.”
Even with these changes, Cauley said, the waiting list continues to hover around 300.
“One of the issues with the renovation is the Level 1 ballrooms where we had law enforcement exhibitors is no longer available,” she said. “As a result, we’re losing about 7,000 square feet of exhibit space.”
The need to relocate exhibitors displaced from Level 1 means clearing the waiting list is even more challenging, Cauley said.
NSSF continues its tough stand against companies that don’t pay for booth space, but attempt to promote their products to attendees.
“We have an ongoing problem with suitcasing,” Cauley said. “Over the past couple of years we’ve tried to better educate our exhibitors about this issue. We’ve taken action every time we’ve had a solid lead.”
It’s taken a couple of years for retailers to recognize and understand what suitcasing is, and to know that NSSF takes it very seriously, Cauley said.
“When an exhibitor calls to report suitcasing, we have security there immediately,” Cauley said. “We’ve been very diligent about making sure these issues are resolved, and are taken care of immediately.”
Offenders are removed from the floor, she said.
“If it’s an issue of counterfeiting or something like that, we turn it over to the correct authorities,” Cauley said. “In addition to removing these people from the show, they won’t be allowed back the following year.”
Visit www.shotshow.org and click “Education” to learn what seminars are still available.
Education At The Show
It is likely a number of the business educational opportunities at the show will be sold out by early January. To determine what may still be available, visit www.shotshow.org and click “Education.”
SHOT Show University will be held on Jan. 14. This year’s lineup of classes will bring a new level of education and interaction for dealers.
Six Retail Seminars will be held on Jan. 15 and 16 — three each day — during show hours. Classes range from “Co-op Advertising,” “FBI/NICS: Alien & Non-Immigrant Alien Presentation,” “Financials for the Firearms Retailer,” “How to Write a Business Plan,” “Store Security & Inventory Procedures” and “Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Social Marketing.”
The ATF Seminars will be held on Jan. 16, with two classes: “Detecting and Avoiding Illegal Straw Purchases” and “ATF From the Inside & Out: Providing You with the Tools to Excel.” The seminars will conclude with “ATF/NICS Town Hall Meeting” from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
NSSF is again partnering with Law Officer Magazine to present education programs for those in the law enforcement community who are attending the show.
Smith & Wesson Model 1911 & Model 1913
30th Anniversary SHOT Show Auction
The 30th anniversary SHOT Show auction features a pair of Smith & Wesson handguns, a Winchester Model 70 rifle, a Doug Turnbull TAR-10 rifle and a one-of-a-kind knife by Canal Street Cutlery.
Saluting 100 Years
Smith & Wesson introduced its first semiautomatic handgun in 1913: the Model 1913 .35 Automatic Pistol. The SHOT Show auction commemorates these 100 years by pairing a Model 1913 in new condition with a modern, appropriately engraved S&W Model 1911.
The pristine Model 1913 .35 auto is certified as in “New Condition” by Smith & Wesson historian Roy Jinks. The historic handgun will include the original box and owner’s manual, and a specially prepared history of the Model 1913 written and signed by Jinks. A factory-engraved Model 1911 represents the modern end of the century of manufacturing history.
The high bidder for the pair of handguns will be invited to Smith & Wesson headquarters to meet with Jinks and company executives and, if the buyer so desires, will have his/her initials engraved on the 1911’s triggerguard. The handguns will be on display at the Smith & Wesson booth, #13731.
Winchester Jack O’Connor Tribute Rifle
Last Of Limited Editions
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Winchester Model 70, the company produced 500 limited edition Model 70 Jack O’Connor Tribute rifles to honor outdoor writer Jack O’Connor. The rifles sold out quickly, but Winchester set aside the last gun for this auction. The rifle is hand-engraved by Baron Engraving, and features a whitetail buck on the buttplate, a rendition of the North American Sheep “Grand Slam” on the magazine floorplate and O’Connor’s signature in gold on the triggerguard. The receiver includes the following engraved inscription: “If the hunter does his part, the .270 will not let him down.”
The SHOT Show Tribute rifle is equipped with a new Leupold Mountaineer (O’Connor’s preferred scope) and Leupold rings and mounts. The rifle may be viewed at the Winchester booth, #15929.
Turnbull Mfg. .308 TAR-001
Turnbull Manufacturing produces state-of-the-art, carbon steel .308 semiautomatic rifles, and presents serial number “TAR-001” of the new model as a 2013 SHOT Show rifle. The upper and lower are made from 8620 carbon steel that has been color case hardened with the Turnbull bone charcoal process. The barrel and chamber is chrome lined. The gun has been engraved by Adams and Adams, and features gold inlay. The stock, forend and pistol grip are select walnut by Lucent Solutions. The rifle may be viewed at the GunBroker.com booth, #15147.
Canal Street Cutlery Highland Skinner
The 2013 SHOT Show knife is serial #001 of the new Canal Street Cutlery Highland Skinner. This collectible was designed by Oleh Stecyk.
The 8 5/8-inch skinner features a stabilized presentation-grade Musk Ox handle, D2 blade steel, mirror-polished, double-taper, flat-grind, belt edge, with razor buff, wet-formed, full-grain leather sheath and a presentation case. The knife is hand-and-laser engraved in a hunting heritage theme by Baron Engraving. The knife may be viewed at the Canal Street Cutlery booth, #2048.
Each of these unique collector items is available exclusively on www.GunBroker.com. SHOT Show attendees may place their bids at the GunBroker.com booth, #15147. Bidding closes at 2 p.m. on the final day of the SHOT Show, Friday, Jan. 18.
By Carolee Anita Boyles
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