SGC - AROUND THE CORNER
The thoughts expressed below are only those of the author, and have no input from anyone else, except proof reading and a cool demeanor from my wife.
Contrary to popular belief, the first sign of Spring isn't the arrival of the first robin or the beginning of baseball's Spring Training. It is, in fact, the Southern Graphics Council's annual meeting.
This year we are headed for historical Philadelphia, PA and the Loew's Hotel for what promises to be another hopefully stellar conference. As always, the Product Fair is our personal favorite - probably selfishly so. Unfortunately, the organizers of the show don't seem to hold the Product Fair in as high esteem as we do. For reasons known only to them, the organizers cut Product Fair hours down rather significantly.
The vendors that I've talked to are clearly unhappy about the turn of events. From an economic point of view, it is a hardship. In general, little thought is given to the expenses incurred by vendors at this show: travel expense, 3-4 days of hotels, meals and shipping costs to and from the conference. Even the smallest of vendors will spend upwards of $1000. For the record, press suppliers and others bringing in equipment will pay significantly more, due to certain union rules.
I dislike bringing up problems unless I can suggest a solution to it. Only one conference in recent years has had a vendor on the committee as decisions are made that affect the Product Fair. That was last year's extremely successful Chicago show. Most other conferences have had input from a representative of the vendors - Ed O'Neill. Ed's involvement has been invaluable, and exceedingly appreciated by the vendors. Up to this point this year, Ed has not been involved by the outside organizers. Not surprisingly, information has been spotty at best.
To the SGC Board of Directors: The vendors came to you several years ago with a similar request to which you agreed - have a vendor involved from the beginning in conference planning. Consider having at least one vendor on the Board either as a full member or at least in an advisory role. (For the record, I am not interested in the job!). But most importantly, start treating those vendors who have been involved regularly with SGC as partners, not as a necessary evil. You need us as much as we need you.