The final count is still out, but the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) – majority partner in GIE+EXPO – is already sure this year’s landscaping industry tradeshow will surpass 2014’s record-setting event.
Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI, said Thursday that this week’s GIE+EXPO is up on virtually all measures of participation. Attendance is expected to approach 20,000 by the time the tradeshow ends Friday afternoon, he said.
“Last year was the biggest ever,” Kiser said. “This year is even bigger.”
GIE+EXPO, which began with “Dealer Day” on Wednesday and opened to all participants this morning, is being held again this year at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville. More than 750 exhibitors are displaying their products or touting their services in more than 500,000 square feet of indoor space, as well as a 19-acre outdoor demonstration area.
Overall participation is up about 16 percent, Kiser said, including a 13-percent increase in exhibitors. Registration for the show was up 8 percent among equipment dealers and 20 percent among contractors. He said the Hardscape North America tradeshow, which is co-located with GIE+EXPO, is “also up strong” this year.
Kiser praised another principal sponsor of the show, the National Association of Landscape Professionals, for the success of this year’s event.
OPEI represents more than 100 outdoor power equipment, engine and utility-vehicle manufacturers and suppliers and Kiser says the industry has had a solid year in 2015. He noted that the U.S. housing market – a key indicator of business prospects for both the landscaping industry and the manufacturers and dealers who serve it – has performed relatively well so far this year.