Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Tuesday at the Trade Show 

Manager said things went well.

Except for the indoor silo container people, who totally blew her off and wouldn't talk to her. She's hoping to find a different company who provides indoor storage for bulk grains and flours and sugars and such. You storage people? You totally lost our business with your rudeness. Manager has your card, and she's noted your attitude on it for future reference. Anyone who ever asks her about storage containers will be directed to some other company, and if anyone asks about your company specifically, well, you get what you give.

The other downside was when she approached the Retail Baker's Association about joining them, and was not only ignored by the people manning the booth, but had some of the people roll their eyes at her when she tried to get their attention.

Not very professional or very pleasant to experience, I'm sure. We're not judging the entire organization by the people they hired to man their booth, but it does cause us to question their professionalism, and to doubt it would be a beneficial organization for us. If we hadn't had such an enthusiatic recommendation for a sub-branch of their organization, their behavior at the trade show would certainly put us off their organization.

In stark contrast, we have Baking Business, a site we've relied heavily on for much of our indutry information. Manager said the people manning their booth were extremely friendly and helpful, particularly when they learned she was starting a new bakery. They offered her all sorts of brochures and journals, reports to add to her business plan, pamphlets, advice and even references of other bakers to whom she could talk. They were exactly what she'd expected from the Retail Bakers Association, and didn't get over there.

Like the Baking Business people, you dried fruit people are great! Manager said she loved your booth, the people manning it were helpful, knowledgeable, and outgoing. She also said the fruit was well dried and preserved with a good flavor - just what we were looking for for the breads and cakes. You've gained a customer!

I don't have names, or I'd say more and put a link to the side. I'll do that when Manager returns, and I've gone through her notes and business cards.

Manager found many other very helpful people at the various booths. That only makes sense, since, after all, the vendors are at the trade show to get new business and demonstrate new products and developments, right?

The fruit people stand out for being especially interactive and charming, while the container people were the opposite.

There were several companies with ovens that were impressively large - Manager thinks one of them was larger than her first apartment, certainly larger than her hotel room. We don't need ovens that large, as we are a local bakery, not a nationwide wholesaler. But she said it was fascinating, watching them demonstrate these behemoths.

There were some minor problems changing hotels. Manager says even though both hotels have a 4 star rating, the Hilton deserves it, and Circus Circus doesn't. I let her vent about the long, slow check-in line, the lack of directions or maps to her 32nd floor room, the hidden light switches, the confusing nad misleading concourse - she got lost for over 45 minutes trying to find her way out of the hotel and couldn't find any hotel staff to direct her, or maps on the walls, or arrows painted on the floors, or even will-o-wisps to light her way through the maze. As a result, she missed far more of the trade show than she'd planned, and spent far too much for a bad pizza (they charged her a dollar extra for pizza sauce instead of plain tomato sauce!)

She was also amused by the fact that Las Vegas seems designed for couples and groups.

Manager detailed many times when people saw her alone and asked her if her boyfriend had abandoned her, or offered her sympathy for being alone. Even more amusing was the waitress who thought she was an ex-dancer.

She's been passing her cards out freely, and making some good, solid contacts.

Today is the last formal day of the show, and she plans to spend the entire day at it visiting the booths she missed, revisiting important to us booths, and attending some of the roundtable discussions.

As far as the local silk-screening and embroidery shops, Manager will have to visit them because their hours are incompatible with mine - most of them are open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. M-F only and I work from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. M-F, plus the hours I put in each day for the Cracked Cauldron.

I wonder why some businesses are not friendly to people who work day jobs? Don't they want our custom?

This is yet another reason we think the Cracked Cauldron will be popular - our hours are worker-friendly.

And, hey, the more popular we are, the more help we can offer to the homeless.

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