BCA Trade Show Changes Course Due to Virus

Sometimes you just have to do whatever you can do. Perhaps the most important function of the BCA is to host the annual Trade Show. The members of the BCA are comprised mostly of manufacturers and retailers and it is the annual job of the BCA to bring those two groups together once a year in order to facilitate trade within the industry.

The Trade Show is designed so that manufacturers may show off their modifications to existing lines and unveil their brand-new products. And it is timed to allow retailers to order in their Christmas inventory and to allow manufacturers to know what their order load is in time to satisfy the Christmas rush.

This year Covid-19 put a stop to doing all of that the way it has been done for decades. Normally the Trade Show is a crowded and bustling shindig that is also the once-per-year social event for the entire industry. None of that would be allowed this year and the news that Las Vegas casinos had shut down in the spring meant that the BCA had to dig deep and come up with an alternative plan so that business could continue despite the virus.

No one will claim that the solution did a perfect job of replicating the show. All the BCA could do was to provide an online forum where their vendors could provide videos of their new items and then urge customers to call them at the numbers listed on the WHOVA app.

We spoke with Kyle Nolan of Imperial. He told us that they had reserved several ‘rooms’ in the online show so that customers who just wanted cues could go directly to the Cuetec room and those who wanted tables could go directly to the Rasson room and that this helped ease any confusion in navigating to where they needed to be in order to do business. “No, it isn’t like the normal show but it does allow us to have the right salespeople in the right places to answer the phones dedicated to their product.”

Tony Kalamdaryan of Tiger Products told us: “It was really pretty easy. All I had to do was put in the basic info I needed like phone numbers to call and it comes out in the app. And the BCA is providing this as a free service so that is nice as the Trade Show is normally quite an expense.”

When it was over no one wanted to say that their orders were as vibrant as normal. As Mr. Nolan told us: “This is not a business as usual type of year. The virus means we all have to spend more time on the phone letting our clients know what is going on and what we have to offer this year. Sales is going to require a lot more work this year. But we all know that and most of those I know have adjusted.”

What is perhaps missed the most is the social aspect of the show. This was the time when friends who have not seen each other for a year are able to reconnect and share meals. And while that will have to wait until next year at least your loved one will still be able to get that new cue or table for Christmas!