Arrow Distributing will host its annual show next week (Jan. 28-29) at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Miss., expecting a 20 percent increase in dealer attendance this year compared to last, according to Vice President of Sales Andy Mullin.
A group of vendors poses at the Arrow Distributing 2014 show. The 2015 show takes place next week.
It is the first annual event for the company since its acquisition last fall of SoCal Distribution, a move that added a West Coast location to the Midwest distributor’s network.
“You always want to be up, but to be up about 20 percent is good,” Mullin said. “We’re extremely happy with that.”
The two-day event will feature a stand-up routine on the opening night from comedian Rocky LaPorte from the TV show “Last Comic Standing”.
Vendors at the 2014 Arrow Distributing show. Click to enlarge.
The show is likely to move to another location in 2016, Mullin said. The Midwest distributor will look for other options next year after turning away some late-registering vendors this year due to space constraints.
“We plan to get something slightly bigger because we have been selling out at every show,” Mullin said, adding that no decision on a new location had been finalized.
A new feature added this year would be that dealers arriving to the show can catch a limo ride from the airport to the Beau Rivage, rather than pay for a taxi or take a shuttle bus.
“When our dealers arrive they will see someone standing there with a ‘Arrow VIP’ sign,” Mullin said. “Then they get in the limo, have a cocktail and a snack for a nice and easy limo ride to the Beau Rivage to get them off to a good start.”
Day 1 of the show will feature 45-minute product-training seminars from 12 vendors, including a session from Unified RV and Creative Retail Solutions that will educate dealers on Arrow’s store-front services.
“’(Unified RV and Creative Retail Solutions) will be going over ways to really give their store a cost-effective makeover,” Mullin said.
At 2:45 that afternoon, the show floor will open briefly before giving way to a cocktail party on the show floor followed by a plated dinner and entertainment.
The show floor will open again on the second day, which features breakfast, lunch and a cocktail party followed by a plated dinner.
“An enormous benefit to us is that we get to see dealers at our show that we don’t get to see throughout the year, and the ones we do see throughout the year, we get to see again,” Mullin said. “A lot of these dealers have been coming to the show since Andy Nelsen first started hosting the event.”
The Biloxi location is close to many of Arrow’s southernmost dealers, allowing for an easy drive to the show, and Mullin said that accessibility for both dealers and vendors is an important consideration for any show.
“The dealers get to have the one-on-one interaction with the vendors, vendor reps and even product designers so they have an opportunity to ask specific questions regarding the products,” Mullin said. “If they have a question about a rubber roof, they can ask that specific question to the right person, and they know they’ll get the right answer.”