It’s been dubbed the “big show for the bow,” and that rings true as a rallying cry for the annual ATA Trade Show, but it’s also a million other things.
For starters, it’s like a “second Christmas.” At least that’s what many eager retailers called the event through comments and posts on their shop’s social media accounts. Yet, the 2014 ATA Trade Show, held in Nashville, Tenn., at the newly constructed, downtown Music City Center, remains — first and foremost — a business opportunity for thousands of ATA members.
“[The ATA Show is] becoming more of a writing show as time goes on,” said Steve Sims, president/CEO of Sims Vibration Laboratory. “We actually wrote a lot of orders this year. Our orders were up from last year. I don’t know if the foot traffic was lighter or stronger, but it seemed that our booth was busier this year than last year.”
As the Show approached, winter weather disrupted travel in some regions of the country. But archery businesses are resilient and arguably a little stubborn. In the end, most found a way to Nashville by Monday and worked the floor during the three-day event. Many even spent time on Nashville’s Broadway, the Music City’s downtown nerve center, for live music and good eats.
A record-setting total of 1,047 retail and distribution buying companies represented by a near-record 3,193 individual dealers, distributors and buyers attended the show, which is good news for the business value of the event. Not to be outdone, exhibitors topped their previous numbers by coming in at 584 strong. This amounted to 186,576 square feet of brands, products and innovation.
“The 2014 ATA Show was a huge success for the Last Chance Archery crew,” said Wendy Clark of Last Chance Archery, LLC. “I have to admit I was more than a little concerned about the weather forecast and how it would affect the number of people at the Show. But, the weather wasn’t a problem and a steady flow of traffic from both returning and new customers in our booth kept us on our toes!”
ATA President/CEO Jay McAninch said, by all accounts, the ATA had a historically successful show.
“There’s no doubt we were lucky we didn’t get caught in Indianapolis this year, where the snow fall and winter weather were far worse,” he said. “But this Show — in spite of travel disruptions — drew record attendance from our all-important retailer/buyer/distributor membership. Frankly, the word we got from nearly all exhibitors was the 2014 Show set new records for orders and for the strength of the people walking the show floor. Many said the ’tire-kickers’ were few, while the buyers with company authority were the norm. As we’ve seen for the past few years, the archery and bowhunting industry is healthy and growing.”
Attendance brimmed off the show floor too, with Outtech hosting a sold-out crowd of 3,000 for their annual Innovations event held the night before Show open. This year, the event headlined reigning Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year and American Country Award Artist of the Year Luke Bryan. Though many retailers were up late Sunday night taking in the concert, they woke early Monday morning to give ATA’s Archery Academy the highest one-day attendance in the seminar series’ 13-year history.
For a complete report of attendance numbers and comparison tables, download the PDF.
2014 Trade Show Exhibitor Quotes
NOTE: As more exhibitor quotes and feedback are collected, the ATA will periodically update this section on archerytrade.org.
Nick Andrews, vice president of marketing, Scent-Lok Technologies
This is the best show we’ve ever had, by far. Our booth traffic was way up, even though we know the weather made it difficult for a lot of people to get here. We still have a lot of dealers coming through here and they’re able to see our whole line here in one spot. And that also gives them a lot of one-on-one experience with the people who work for our company. The dealers are the people we ultimately serve. So it’s been great for that.
Blake Shelby, marketing director, PSE Archery
The show has been incredible for us; it’s been one of the best writing shows we’ve ever had. What I’ve heard from a lot of the booths around us is that foot traffic has been a little slower, but the people who are here are writing well. But the weather … we had several reps who couldn’t make it in because of the snowstorms. That’s kind of aggravating because I would have loved to see what this show would have done in this city if the storm hadn’t hit.
John Hernandez, national director of sales, BOWTECH
Our ultimate goal is to sell bows, and it’s been a phenomenal show for that. This year it seems because of Mother Nature that attendance is down, but that said, we pulled very, very strong numbers here. In our mind’s eye it’s been a great success. In comparison to last year, where we felt like we had full attendance for bookings all three days of the show, and we’re just a little shy of that. But we beat our previous records we set before the 2013 show.
Mike Sohm, CEO, Magnus Outdoor Products
I do think the weather impacted the show, but that’s no fault of the ATA. The overall show, its layout and floor here in Nashville was really good. Business for us was really good. We didn’t have a lot of tire kickers. We wrote orders. Business was good.
Mike Ellig, president, Black Gold Inc.
We had great traffic at our show. This was the best writing show we ever had. My only complaint was that it took me until 3 o’clock to go get lunch the first two days of the show, so I was really hungry. (laughs) That’s how busy we were. It was a great show. It’s been busy all three days for us. We have a lot of people coming in the third day to finish up their business and place their orders. They had a couple of days to look around at everything, and now they’re coming back.
Steve Sims, president/CEO, Sims Vibration Laboratory
It’s been more of a new product introduction show for us over the years. It’s always given us a chance to show everyone our new products. Our orders were up from last year. We didn’t feel the weather the way I hear some folks did. We were busy all three days, right up through early afternoon [on Wednesday].
Chris Hamm, national sales manager, HHA Sports, Inc.
Our numbers were up 50 percent from last year so we were blown away! HHA continues to grow by leaps and bounds, something almost unheard for a company in business for 30 years but we’ll take it.
Wendy Clark, office manager, Last Chance Archery, LLC
I have to admit I was more than a little concerned about the weather forecast and how it would affect the number of people at the Show. But, the weather wasn’t a problem and a steady flow of traffic from both returning and new customers in our booth kept us on our toes. Grateful for our customers – we left Nashville with a full order book and lots of work to do!
Dave Robb, director of marketing, TenPoint Crossbow Technologies
TenPoint had it's a best ATA show ever - by a long shot - even though the weather kept some of our dealers, sales reps, and vendors at home. The combined effort of our employees and our reps, using their phones to connect with those unable to make it, resulted in another year of record orders. Even with what we know would have been higher attendance if the weather had cooperated, we had heavy traffic throughout the show from those who did attend. Great show.
2014 Trade Show Press Quote Highlights
If this week’s ATA Show in Nashville gives any indication – plenty of business, lots of momentum and ample good vibes – then good times would appear to be on tap for the rest of the archery industry the remainder of 2014. – Herald Democrat (Texas)
To say this event is a good time would be an understatement, and I look forward to it each year just as a young child longs for the arrival of Christmas. Aisle upon aisle of archery and bow-hunting “goodies” from every maker are to be found, taking up about 400,000 square feet. I’m not quite sure it’s possible to get through the show having seen each and every new piece. – Enquirer Herald (South Carolina)
It was unbelievably cold outside, but the archery industry was soaking up the heat of recent blockbuster movies, like The Hunger Games, that have driven an increase in industry business… To see the industry responding to the positive growth potential coming out of Hollywood for the archery industry was cool to experience. – News Tribune (Missouri)
Day one has already been as exciting as promised. Not only are there tremendous products everywhere you turn, but you may run into the occasional Hunting Celebrity or Country Music Star singing at a booth. – Bowhunting.com
We all wait with anticipation as major bow manufacturers…release their newest products at the ATA Show in January each year. This year it’s no different…trust us, there’s plenty to drool over. – Petersen’s Bowhunting
Great opening ceremony at the BowTech booth yesterday at [the] ATA Trade Show in Nashville!! Big crowd and AMAZING new bows! – Jim Shockey, via Facebook
I’ve always been an archer and I can’t believe this is my first time here. It’s pretty awesome. This is like a second Christmas for me right now! – Josh Stewart (actor), via Archery360
What a first day for ATA 2014…talked hoarse and needing to sit down. – Olympic medalist Jake Kaminski, via Facebook