badgeAs this year’s show kicked off, optimism seemed to be the keyword.  From Gary Vaynerchuk’s opening address on “The Thank You Economy” to the New Orleans marching band and ribbon cutting ceremony, attendees were upbeat.  Walking through the exhibits, I even overheard one supplier claim, “Our dealer business is up 60%!” While that may or may not be factual (trade shows do bring out fisherman stories) the sentiment seems to be that things are on the upswing, far better than recent years.

Who was there?

Although major cabinet company representation was not as strong as one would hope when traveling to a trade show, supporting manufacturers were out in full force.  Appliance, plumbing, countertop and hardware represented a big presence and also presented designers a different perspective.  After all, cabinets aren’t the only part of the project.

Honorable mention

I had the opportunity to make the rounds and had some good conversation with fellow attendees.  While chatting with a Florida luxury homebuilder, he commented that his market is coming roaring back.  “Mortgage rates will never be lower,” he commented, “although lumber prices are quickly inching upward.”  He also noted that there is a severe shortage of labor in his market.

Wrapping up

All in all, I was happy I made the trip, and even moreso that I wore sensible shoes (you learn a thing or two through the years).  One noteworthy presentation, aside from the aforementioned Gary Vaynerchuk’s, was Tammy Erickson’s “The Influence of the Generations on the Kitchen & Bath Market,” which I will post more about soon.  Stay tuned!