Smoky Mountain Gift Show Brings the Gift, Souvenir & Resort Community Together Face-to-Face to Reconnect
The 55th annual event met with overwhelmingly positive feedback from retailers and suppliers
Gatlinburg, TN (November 23, 2020) – The Clarion Events Gift & Souvenir portfolio returned to face-to-face events earlier this month with the 55th annual Smoky Mountain Gift Show – known as the nation’s oldest and most respected event for the resort, gift and souvenir industry. The event took place November 4-7 in Gatlinburg, TN, and represented half of Tennessee Market Week, which also includes the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies (IGES). The focus was on creating a safe environment for thousands of buyers and vendors to get back to business during a busy, four days of order writing, new products and new connections. The feedback from both exhibitors and attendees post-event was overwhelmingly positive regarding the return to live shows, the need for the events, and the business that got done on the show floor.
Keith Fotta, Managing Partner at Go Fun Face! commented, “We are a fairly new company, and the Smoky Mountain Gift Show was our first show three years ago. I can say without hesitation that this year’s show was one best shows we have ever done! That’s saying a lot considering we do about eight shows a year. Everyone came to buy, and our orders far exceeded our expectations. Without a doubt we will be at the Smoky Mountain Gift Show again next year.”
This year the show floor had leading vendors who featured new and best-selling souvenir, novelty & trend items, apparel & clothing, jewelry, nature & wildlife products, green & conservation merchandise, home accessories, lifestyle products, gourmet foods section, lake, mountain & lodge décor, Made in America products, zootique products, collegiate merchandise, games, puzzles & toys, holidays & seasonal items, licensed products, custom logo products & promotional items and personalized products. Vendors had the opportunity to showcase products, meet with buyers, share their show specials and take orders in-person once again. Several vendors participated in the Product Preview Area; a high-trafficked area for vendors to showcase their newest designs as well as to be voted on by buyers for best new product and best Made in America product. We congratulate Recherche Furnishings as the best new product at the Smoky Mountain Gift Show as well as Amish Farm Soap for best Made in America Product!
Commented Show Director Christina Bell, “We were so thrilled to be the meeting place for the gift, souvenir and resort community to reconnect after such an unprecedented year. We talk with our customers year-round and heard over and over the need and desire to return to a face-to-face setting which is what encouraged us to find every way to meet in-person this year. Our goal was to support the industry after a year where many had faced different hardships and provide a safe, productive, and fun meeting space for them to get back to business. It is so wonderful to hear many of the success stories following the event and we hope to continue to support our gift and souvenir family year-round.”
To further facilitate new connections, the Smoky Mountain Gift Show hosted the MATCH! program for the 3rd consecutive year. This program sets up one-to-one meetings between top buyers and exhibitors to help drive order writing and ROI. Jim Deberry with Mr. Crabs & Family Entertainment Shows commented, “The MATCH! program is a fantastic program for us as a company to be able to sit down, see and learn about new products from companies, have in-depth discussions and build new relationships. Whether you're new or seasoned to the Smoky Mountain Gift Show, the MATCH! program will definitely add to your experience."
In addition to driving business forward, the top priority was ensuring the health and safety of everyone involved. The Smoky Mountain Gift Show event team and management worked closely with the convention center, service providers, hotels, travel partners and state and local authorities to implement control measures to assure strict adherence to every health and safety standard. The Smoky Mountain Gift Show followed government guidelines issued by the CDC, state and local officials with regards to COVID-19 protocols and precautions and enforced a comprehensive We’ve Got You Covered safety plan, which included physical distancing, enhanced cleaning, mandatory facial coverings, daily temperature checks and more.
Added Murffy Stevens, Vice President, Monterey Import Co, “In a normal year, I can count on the Smoky Mountain Gift Show to finalize orders, to work on next year's sales and to connect with customers and fellow exhibitors in a familiar venue that always feels like coming home. In a pandemic year, I had no idea what to expect, but armed with optimism, hand sanitizer and samples, I thought I'll give it my best shot. Things looked a little different with masks and social distancing, but what a great show! Buyers were engaged and ready to write orders and the meetings were exceptional. It was a wonderful thing to be able to step back into a kind of normalcy and write business and meet with people. I think we've all missed that so much. Thanks, both for a great show, but also for giving the souvenir industry a place to meet up and reconnect. It's connection that's so important in an unprecedented year like this and this year's show, in addition to writing strong business, brought us all back together, where we belong.”
The Smoky Mountain Gift Show is known for its hospitality and was primed to be the location for the industry to reconnect. While some of the offerings were modified in line with the We’ve Got You Covered safety promise, the event was still able to offer many of the hallmark benefits of the show including daily coffee and happy hours and several giveaways including sponsored goody bags, Mountain Money Madness, Gatlinburg VIP Attraction Pass, and prize wheel with gifts. The team looks forward to 2021 where these events will return along with other staples of the event including the annual Show Party.
Lisa Berry (Glosson), vice president for the Clarion Events Gift & Souvenir Portfolio concluded, “We cannot wait to return to Gatlinburg in 2021 for the 56thannual Smoky Mountain Gift Show. We are already missing our gift and souvenir family and cannot wait to see them again soon! We look forward to providing more opportunities to meet face-to-face as well as virtually throughout the year.”
The 2021 Smoky Mountain Gift Show will be taking place and continuing the excitement and positivity from this year’s event on November 10-13 in Gatlinburg, TN. For more information visit www.smokymtngiftshow.com or follow #SmokyMtnGift on social media.
Clarion Events Gift & Souvenir Family of Events also offers a 24/7 online resource for the industry called THE MARKETPLACE as an accompaniment to the face-to-face tradeshows – featuring more than 4,000 products, hundreds of vendors, education, live demos and networking. For more information visit www.smokymtngiftshow.com
For media inquiries, please contact:
Ashley Cope, Marketing Manager
About Smoky Mountain Gift Show
The Smoky Mountain Gift Show will return on November 10-13, 2021 to the Gatlinburg Convention Center bringing Tennessee’s largest selection of top-name souvenirs, resort gift lines, and innovative tourism products, together under one roof for optimum buying convenience. For exhibitor information, contact Show Director Christina Bell at 678.370.0335 | Christina.firstname.lastname@example.org. For buyer information visit www.smokymtngiftshow.com.
Founded in 1995, Urban Expositions, is now part of global events organizer Clarion Events. The US division produces and manages a portfolio more than 30 trade and consumer events, serving a range of industry sectors including Gift, Souvenir, Apparel, Foodservice, Specialty Retail, Gaming, and Enthusiast Lifestyle. The teams at Clarion create uniquely effective and stimulating environments that can serve as a platform to build businesses, enhance customer relationships and accelerate product awareness. www.us.clarionevents.com