We just got back from the 2017 CABDA EXPO in St. Charles, IL and we couldn't have had a better time at a bicycle trade show. This is the third year in a row that Fyxation has exhibited at CABDA and every year it gets a little bigger and a little better. This year's show had just under 2000 attendees representing over 500 bike shops and 170 exhibitors were on hand.
Unlike Interbike, the show is held at a very slow time of year for most bike shops where they have time to get away from the shop and they can almost feel that first warm day of Spring approaching. Because of this, shops are eager to see what you have to offer and are looking forward to those busy Spring days where cash flows in instead of out. It's also a much smaller and more intimate venue than Interbike and by taking away the distractions of Vegas, the 2 mile walks through hotel underbellies and days on end where you don't physically go outdoors; it's actually a bike trade show with the focus being bikes and our industry.
This year the show was packed with both exhibitors and attendees and immediately after the show, it was announced that the CABDA EXPO will be moving from the small venue at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles to the 100,000 square foot Schaumburg Convention Center located in Schaumburg, IL. CABDA 2018 will be held on February 14th and 15th, 2018.
In an email sent out to exhibitors after the show, Jim Kersten, President of the CABDA EXPO, was quoted as saying "The new, more-modern space gives us the space to keep everyone in a single hall, better capacity for seminars/clinics (including elevators and escalators), larger demo space, more loading docks, and better exhibit hall lighting. We’ll be about 30 mins closer to the city (10 minutes from O’Hare Airport) on a highway with a dedicated off-ramp!"
Because St. Charles is only about 90 minutes away from Milwaukee, this show is very easy for us to attend and lets us bring our whole crew down to the show to soak it all in. Fyxation is a small company in a big industry, and even though we've been around for 7 years we still have a startup feel. When speaking with most bike shops in a more intimate they soon realize we are a Mom and Pop just like them and Spring is an exciting time for us as well as business picks up and bikes and gear start flying out of our small warehouse.
This year we introduced to the Midwest our new line of Eastsides, the super versatile 2017 line up of Quiver framesets, the all new Sixer (bulk pack of Gates pedals for the service area and shop). In addition, we had a chance to catch up with our customers, refresh people on our product line and introduce new shops to the Fyxation story and how we do business.
Many shops buy our gear through distributors so we don't often times get to actually interface with our customers so CABDA is a great way for us to get real world feedback and in some cases get to meet our customers for the first time. Feedback from shops was great and left our entire crew fired up and excited to head back to work.
In addition to Fyxation, CABDA was packed with a great line up of companies that were both big and small. We got a chance to walk around the floor and check out some of the booths and we were really impressed with the caliber of exhibits and the attention the industry is now putting into CABDA. It's our opinion that eventually small regional shows like CABDA will be the industry standard and judging by the declining numbers at Interbike the last few years, I think it will happen sooner rather than later.
Park Tool was on display and had a big presence at the show. They always go big at Interbike so it's nice to see another Midwest company get behind this growing event.
Olympic Supply is our neighbor here in Milwaukee and is one of our US distributors. They are a smaller regional distributor with sales guys that hustle and if you're a shop in the Midwest you can almost set your clock by the regular sales calls that their reps make. They are smaller than some of the larger players in our industry so they really use CABDA as their local version of Interbike and they have great sales, promotions and a huge presence at the show. For the second year running they were voted Vendor of the Year and for good reason.
Below are a few more pictures of the show floor for those of you that weren't there. We're looking forward to watching CABDA grow and are pumped for the 2018 show. Hope to see you there!