We just got back in town from the second annual CABDA Expo which was held in the small town of St. Charles, IL and we thought we'd give the show a little press here on our blog. CABDA, or the Chicagoland Area Bicycle Dealers Association, is a group made up of the nearly 200 bike shops in and around Chicago with a goal of promoting advocacy, best practices, education, and social events for Independent Bicycle Dealers. For the last 2 years CABDA has put on the CABDA Expo in St. Charles which is about 45 minutes outside of Chicago and is designed to let dealers see the latest gear at a time of year when they're actually planning what they're going to stock for the season.
The CABDA Expo used to be held every year and at one point in time was the second largest bicycle trade show in the US (according to CABDA). The show was cancelled about 10 years ago which left local bike shops with limited options to see the latest gear from the industry and suppliers and pretty much forced everyone to head to Interbike and other events or stay at home and rely on reps, the web and catalogs.
When we heard last year that they'd be bringing the show back we were pumped because it's so close to our HQ here in Milwaukee and gives us a chance to get to see a lot of the local bike shops we work with. This year the show was about twice as big as the 2015 show and was definitely worthwhile. New exhibitors like QBP, Advocate Cycles, PO Campo and direct to consumer fat bike brand Framed Bikes were in attendance in addition to returning exhibitors like Fyxation, Saris, Fix It Sticks and Olympic Supply. The show consisted of 2 days of an Expo with a number of seminars held in smaller rooms off the show floor. Each night there was entertainment and cocktails available for exhibitors and attendees and the small venue provided for a great chance to catch up with industry buddies and to make new connections.
We were able to show off our 2016 bike line up and our new colored Mesa MP pedal and the response at the show was great. It's always humbling to see the support we're getting from bike shops and distributors and to hear how our story and reputation continues to grow. I'm sure CABDA will come back even bigger and better next year and we'd love it if other regions around the US hopped on the bandwagon and started offering a smaller, more intimate and regional alternative to Interbike.