GlassBuild America Concludes with Low Attendance and Leery Exhibitors

GlassBuild America took place last week (March 10-12) in San Diego, co-sponsored by the National Glass Association, Glass Association of North America, American Architectural Manufacturers Association, the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance and the Bath Enclosure Manufacturers Association. The event included a three-day trade show as well as a number of seminars and demonstrations.

While the show floor was heavy with exhibitors, it was light with attendee traffic. A number of companies complained about the lack of attendance.

"There's no one here at this show," said one exhibitor who preferred to be unidentified.

"It's been horrible," he added.

"It's been slow," was another common comment.

Though the show didn't render a high turnout, exhibitors did find quality in attendance. Specifically speaking, those companies showing decorative glass products seemed to get very good responses.

"It's been excellent," said Jaime Flatekval with Joel Berman Glass Studios Ltd. "We've been able to really learn what glaziers are looking for. This show has given us the opportunity to talk to customers and learn their business."

BJ Katz with Meltdown Glass also said the show was positive.

"It's been amazing. There's been tremendous interest from both glaziers and builders," she said.

But probably the segment of exhibitors that will be most affected by the show's slow turnout was the machinery manufacturers. Some machinery manufacturers spent many thousands of dollars to exhibit, only to find minimal responses.

Ralph Bayer, managing director of Bayer Technologies of Germany, exhibited at the show for the first time.

"It's been calm," he said.

However, for Bayer, despite the low turnout, the show was still profitable, as the company sold two bending machines.

"There have been quite a few interested customers," Bayer said. "Some [of the people we spoke to] were already bending with other companies' machines and now they are thinking of changing to ours because they've been able to see it here."

Looking ahead to 2005, GlassBuild America is scheduled to take place in Atlanta March 22-24.

A complete re-cap of GlassBuild America 2004 will be featured in the April issue of USGlass magazine.

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