I spent most of last week at
the VDTA/SDTA (Vacuum and Sewing Dealers’ Trade Association) convention in
Las Vegas, together with about 50 other Tacony associates
including Ken Tacony. Here are some
Las Vegas is definitely hurting in this economy, but not
too much. My ride from the airport
to the convention center took less than 10 minutes, much shorter than
normal. My cab driver said he had
been waiting at the airport 45 minutes for a fare. The Las Vegas Hilton, a 4,000 room
hotel, was sold out the night I arrived.
It took about 20 minutes for them to find my confirmed room.
There were 4 conventions at the hotel/convention
center last week and quite a strange mix.
In addition to ours there was the Aviation Support Show (everything
to do with aviation except the planes), the World Pizza Expo (including
the Pizza Olympics), and the Native American Nations Economic Conference
(apparently the national meeting of all Native American Tribes).
Attendance at the VDTA Show was much better than
I had feared. Although attendance
may have been down slightly from last year, our booths were busy most of
the time. The Keynote Speech was
well attended (more about that later this week) by about 500 people. The seminars I went too were quite full,
with the Sucksess panel discussion standing room only. (I later was quite proud to find out
that all four presenters are good Tacony customers.)
The two young people who received this year’s
Bernie Epstein scholarships were very deserving and quite passionate about
making a difference in college and afterwards. Other than making me feel quite old, it
was fun to see their enthusiasm.
The food at the Wednesday night reception was
very good. It was fun talking to
everyone until they finally turned the lights out on us. (My first time closing down a bar.) Dagon Browning from Kalispell, MT can not only can sell sewing machines and vacuums, he can really sing. He’s also a great teacher. What energy.
Stan Ingram was inducted into the VDTA/SDTA Hall
of Fame. I did not know the other
two inductees. From his acceptance
speech, it was clear that Stan had loved his time in the sewing industry. He explained he grew up on a dairy farm
in Wisconsin and was motivated to do well at the University of Wisconsin
because he had milked enough cows and shoveled
enough stuff. Many Singer and
Viking dealers are certainly thankful that Stan didn’t return the farm.
I had expected the mood to be quite negative
based on the economic situation.
This expectation was also anticipated in the Keynote Address and
Scott Wells’ opening remarks.
Instead, I found almost all of the dealers to be cautiously
optimistic. Several said they had
had their best year ever last year and 2009 was starting off strong. In general, they said that they had to
work harder to get the same amount of business, but didn’t seem to
mind. One husband and wife from CA
said they were going to be hiring more staff.
Ken Tacony commented how pleased he was with the
very positive reception that our new Koala cabinets received. Hats off to Ed Moore for his constant
attention to every detail in designing the best looking sewing cabinets
ever made (in my humble opinion).
We’re proud that they are built right here in the USA. Ed also
wins the “best dressed worker during teardown” award for working non-stop
for 4 hours in an Italian suit and tie.
(Mike Queen finished second, having the suit but did take his tie
The new Criss Angel Believe show at the Luxoris the only Cirque du Soleil show that I would
not recommend. Quite
After attending my 21st VDTA show, I
can honestly say that I have never been more proud to be a part of our
sewing and vacuum industry and the retailers who make it all happen. A truly wonderful group of people.