It's down to Chicago or Orlando, Fla.
The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s national board met in Arlington Oct. 14-16 and discussed the location for the 2012 and 2015 NPE trade shows.
Chicago the current location and Orlando made presentations and hosted social events for SPI members. The executive board was scheduled to vote Oct. 16 on the winner, but there was no vote.
Bill Carteaux, president and CEO of the Washington-based trade group, which organizes NPE, said SPI will make a choice by the end of the year. He would not comment on why the executive board did not make a decision, or confirm that SPI had narrowed the choices down to Orlando and Chicago.
In choosing a site, we need to maximize the return on investment for both exhibitors and attendees, and that is not mutually exclusive, Carteaux said in an interview after the meeting.
One SPI member who attended the meeting said Orlando gave a nice presentation that impressed the group.
There would be substantial savings in holding the show in Orlando, he said. But he added that some SPI members are concerned that moving NPE to Orlando could result in a smaller show, because Chicago tends to attract a large crowd of attendees that are within driving distance.
SPI is a great organization, and we need to support whatever they do, he said, adding that attendees spent time at the meeting discussing what type of show NPE should be, noting that the money companies spend to exhibit at the show, which is held every three years, could be used to visit and host customers.
Several board members who attended the meeting said SPI is deciding where to hold the next two shows. In other words, if SPI chooses to move to Orlando for the 2012 show, that decision would also apply to the 2015 show.
Chicago and Orlando both made a big push at the national board meeting. One attendee called it a full-court press.
On Oct. 15, Orlando sponsored dinner and cocktails for the SPI group. The dinner included a performance by the musical and political satire group The Capitol Steps.
Chicago sponsored a reception Oct. 14, and also a breakfast Oct. 16.
Basically, both Orlando and Chicago came to the national board meeting this week and made a presentation. Both of them are offering competitive packages, and the final negotiations have yet to be completed with both venues. So there's no decision to be made at this point, said Kurt Waldhauer, chairman of the SPI Equipment Council, and a member of the executive board.
Carteaux had said in July that SPI was considering whether to hold the next NPE somewhere other than Chicago's McCormick Place. Some exhibitors complained about the cost of exhibiting at the 2009 show a problem that has come up before, but was exacerbated by the recession.
Based on this, we are doing a much more thorough review than has been the case [in the past], Carteaux said at the time.
NPE is the 12th-largest trade show in the U.S. according to Tradeshow Week, based on net square footage of paid exhibit space.
The 2009 show, held June 22-26, had 977,000 square feet of paid exhibit space, down from about 1 million square feet in 2006. SPI said about 44,000 people registered to attend the 2009 show, which was down about 28 percent, compared with 64,451 three years ago.
NPE, formerly called the National Plastics Exposition, was first held in 1946 in New York's Grand Central Palace. Between 1946 and 1968 the show was held in various locations, including Chicago's Navy Pier, the Philadelphia Convention Hall and the Cleveland Auditorium.
The show moved to Chicago's McCormick Place in 1971.
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