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Many comments and claims have recently been made pertaining to the stone industry Trade Shows. We have compiled a list of data from press releases, direct questions and email discussions, and postings to our online forum so the different sides of the Trade Show War discussion can be reviewed in a more organized, unbiased layout.
comments pertaining to ITSS NY 2004 Show-
    From ITSS:
  • "The following show report summarizes the 2004 New York edition.
    Total number of visitors: 9105
    Number of exhibiting companies: 325 "
  • "ITSS is the #1 stone and machine show in the United States with 3 events - each one of them larger than StonExpo"
  • "In 2004 with New York and Las Vegas we had over 600 firms exhibit with us and almost 20,000 in total attendance...."
    Comments made online or by email to
  • (from an exhibitor) "I was initially given the 9000 number but that included exhibitors, etc. After several questions, the actual number was about 1600 or 1800 (I don't remember which). It was really dead. In fact after the first two days of the show, I had heard that the actual attendance numbers was less than 800. On the final day of the show, it was advertised on the radio as a free stone show. There were women with kids in strollers, etc."
  • (from an attendee)"I went to the ITSS show in New York. What a dissapointment. Very few people. Not alot of vendors. It cost an arm and a leg to do that show. Hotel prices are astronomical and forget parking. We had a hard time getting a cab to go into the city. Oh yea, the Javits Center is far away from the New York you want to go see. We couldnt wait to get out of there. From the two ITSS shows we went to this year, you could use the aisles as bowling alleys for their were very few attendees."
  • (from an exhibitor)"This show was my biggest disaster, $2500 to unload our van and the following 3 days no visitors. Never again NY or Las Vegas. Do you really think that customers want to pay $50 for parking?"
  • (from" did not attend the ITSS NY show. We requested attendee statistics from ITSS but none were provided."
    Reply from ITSS to's comments:
  • "Ted ­ I asked you for some comments about what you want to see in ITSS and I want to address some of your points. First ITSS releases attendance figures in the exact same way as Coverings. StonExpo does it differently ­ that was their business decision, by the way, access to those attendees is now different under Hanley-Wood. As for the bowling alley comment ­ actually Hard Rock Tool had a basketball hoop. I don’t wish to debate perceptions, but the cold business facts are that companies are exhibiting in ITSS in greater numbers because they get a return on investment so I can only conclude that whatever we are doing it is working for them and I will leave it at that."
  • "If you seriously believe we had under 1000 participants in New York it is simply absurd - who did you ask. We had companies with 300+ leads - did everyone in the show visit their booth? We sold over 3000 hotel rooms - those people weren't coming into NYC to see the Statue of Liberty. In Las Vegas this year we sold over 4,800 hotel rooms and lots of people did not book through us or stayed at hotels outside our blocks."
  • "We released the traffic amounts for that show and every other show. We do not provide access to them directly for obvious competitive reasons. Coverings does not give their list. IT IS PROPRIETARY. You jump on ITSS like we are committing some sort of crime because we do exactly the same thing that Coverings does - that is not fair to cast dispersions like you are doing.
    Why don't you listen to the people in my releases - these are big companies with no motivation of being joined at the hip as a supporter of the competition. If I don't produce for them - they simply won't do business with me - but they are in record numbers. reply:
  • (from "The number of individual attendees is what determines the validity of a show. Using the number of hotel rooms booked, or the number of leads by one company as a means to determine the size of a show is an unusual approach. StonExpo publishes their list of attendees and their attendance records are based on the number of indivdual attendees."
  • (from"There may be a discrepancy in the number of "visitors" reported if ITSS includes exhibitors in their definition of numbers "in attendance" while Stonexpo's "in attendance" refers to a single, documented attendee. "
  • "Statistics need to be clarified so we asked ITSS for a look at their statistics. asked people who were at both venues to estimate and compare the size of the crowds. Every reply that we got back stated that ITSS NY 2004 had a smaller crowd in attendance than StonExpo 2004."
  • (from "We have questioned the claim that there were more attendees at ITSS- NY than at StonExpo 2004 because eye witness reports did not support this. We never stated that there were under 1000 "participants" at ITSS NY."
    *Reply from ITSS to's comments:
  • "You have had a bias against ITSS from the beginning maybe because of your link to StonExpo per your website work or something deeper. I cannot recall one thing I have ever seen on your website that has been favorable to ITSS ... You just seem to take the StonExpo party line as gospel and look at anything from ITSS with skepticism. I perceived an attitude by Natural Stone by the way you covered ITSS to limit the options and competition we brought to the industry as opposed to embracing them...." reply:
  • (from "If you cannot recall one thing favorable to ITSS, please note comments made online in our article:"
    1. We stated: "Few stone machinery companies exhibit at Surfaces and Coverings, and have preferred to use StonExpo and ITSS as their venue of choice."
    2. We stated: "ITSS brings some fresh ideas, new visitors, and competition..."
    3. We stated: "But the fact is that ITSS has reached new people and the competition they bring to the table has caused StonExpo to take notice."
    5. We stated: "Coverings, Surfaces, StonExpo and ITSS offer many services and benefits, and at the same time they miss the mark as well."
comments pertaining to ITSS Las Vegas 2002 Show-
    From ITSS:
  • "I don't know what level of measurement StonExpo could possibly claim to be bigger than ITSS with the exception of their ego. StonExpo had been around since 1987 and never really grew....  ..The very first ITSS - Las Vegas show in 2002 was bigger with more exhibitors, more square footage, more attendees and more stone suppliers than StonExpo which had been around for 15 years!"
  • . "..I perceived an attitude by Natural Stone by the way you covered ITSS to limit the options and competition we brought to the industry as opposed to embracing them." reply:
  • (from " attended the first ITSS show and wrote in review in 2002: "For a first time show and given the obstacles of the West Coast dock strike, I think the ITSS pulled of a respectable showing and one can only hope that it will grow next year as the demand for a trade show serving the West Coast is there."
  • (from" Please note that more square footage does not mean a bigger show. One could rent the Rose Bowl and have 100 attendess and 50 exhibitors and claim to have the world's largest show. The fact is that the Las Vegas show had a food court that occupied 40% of the floor space to cover up the empty spaces. The fact is that Stonexpo had at least 2 times as many unique attendees as the ITSS 2002 Las Vegas show according to our own observations and eye witness accounts that were at both shows."
  • (from" ITSS claims it had over 5000 visitors at their first Las Vegas show and claims it was bigger than StonExpo. ITSS does not release attendance documentation."
  • (from also wrote in review: "for a first time show, attendance seemed respectable"
comments pertaining to NASMA
    From ITSS:
  • "ITSS Expos, the leading producer of trade shows for the stone and stone machine industry, has received the prestigious sponsorship and support of NASMA, the North American Stone Machinery Association, according to John Bergman, president of stone machinery trade association."
  • "In regard to NASMA that someone in the thread brought up, it was formed by 9 companies and ITSS had to present proposals and respond to many requirements to win their endorsement. It wasn't easy, we went first followed by StonExpo and Covering. ITSS was the most responsive so they gave us the endorsement of my Miami and Las Vegas shows. So the inference that I have something to do with its creation is off base - ITSS worked hard for that endorsement and will continue to focus on trying to bring value to everyone in the industry."
  • "NASMA - the North American Stone Machinery Association represents 90% of the world's fabrication equipment companies." reply:
  • (posted by online forum visitor) "Trade shows can only be successful if attendees show up ... it does not matter which group endorses which show. In fact, the new Association mentioned in the email is actually incorrectly named. None of the members listed are North American "producers" of stone machinery, but rather, distributors for imported machinery. The association should be called the NADISM (North American Distributors of Imported Stone Machinery)."
  • (from "It seems odd that not one US stone manufacturing company is included in the North American Stone Machinery Associatition. There are probably over 400 stone machinery manufacturing companies in the world. If the 9 companies in NASMA really represent 90% of the world's fabrication equipment companies, then ITSS is well endorsed indeed."
    NASMA members Breton, Marmo Mecchanica, CMS/Brembana, StoneBoss, Salem Stone, Pyramid Supply, AGM... are ALL exhibiting at COVERINGS 2005
General Comments
    From ITSS:
  • "Between the Las Vegas, Miami and New York shows, ITSS Expo currently maintains a roster of over 1,000 stone-related exhibitors, 20,000+ attendees and over 3,000 booths, with the highest attendee-to-exhibitor ratio of any show in the industry."
  • "In reality ITSS is the #1 show in the United States for stone and machinery - we are even bigger than Coverings. Coverings had 1080 exhibitors with about 45% or 486 of them in the stone business. ITSS has nearly 1,000 firms exhibiting with us during the year."
  • . "The 17th edition of StonExpo this year had less than 200 exhibitors - so what are they talking about?" reply:
  • (from "ITSS July 17, 2004 press release states that there were 325 exhibitors at ITSS NY and ITSS lists about 230 exhibitors online for their Las Vegas Show. Of the 230 exhibitors listed for Las Vegas, approximately 90 exhibited at both shows."
  • (from "Coverings, of course, is one venue not 3."
  • (from "StonExpo lists 215 exhibitors."
    From ITSS:
  • "The U.S. Department of Commerce's, Special Projects Coordinator, Trade Events Manager and Brazil's leading stone producer association ABIROCHAS - Associação Brasileira de Rochas Ornamentais have declared ITSS Expos as the #1 trade show in the United States for this industry. The Brazilian Pavilion at ITSS Expos has tracked the sales generated at the shows and attributed their participation in ITSS Expos as the primary force leading to Brazil becoming the #1 exporter of granite into the United States." reply:
  • (from "-impressive statement. Tremendous tribute to ITSS if true."
    From ITSS:
  • "ITSS is the only trade show organization to reverse a 20 year upward trend in cost by cutting exhibition costs." reply:
  • (from "ITSS and StonExpo have the most affodably priced booth space of the major trade shows. Trade Shows with 30,000 registered attendees, like Coverings, are more than 2X expensive for exhibitor space. The price of floor space is a reflection of the number of actual attendees at the venue, so the accounting of the attendance is an important process, not only for the integrity of the show, but for determining the fees charged."
    From ITSS:
  • "Our approach is to provide a world-class venue at a good value. Hanley - Wood on the other hand has a history that is just the opposite. Each of their 12 shows when compared to ITSS, is high priced to maximize the yield that comes out of the show to appear on the bottom line of their venture capital owners... ..Most people don't realize that Hanley - Wood is owned completely by a venture capital firm in New York City, Veronis, Suhler and Stevenson." reply:
  • (from The following is found at the bottom of their press releases Hanley-Woods: "About Hanley Wood-
    Founded in 1976, Hanley Wood is a $200 million company owned by VS&A Communications Partners III, LP, the private-equity affiliate of media industry merchant bank Veronis Suhler Stevenson."...(Hanley Wood does not appear to be hiding this fact..)
    From ITSS:
  • "ITSS is the only trade show organization in this industry that has been responsive to the needs of exhibitors, listened carefully and delivered what the industry wanted with Las Vegas, New York and now Miami."
  • "Does a trade show add to the cost of a machine? The answer is no. Companies establish marketing budgets to advance their brands through a bunch of mediums from mail to magazine to shows. If as 20 million dollar company save $100,000 on a show do you really think it will result in a lower price on the product? It will most likely be used elsewhere or put a 500SL in the CEO's driveway. " reply:
  • (from online forum visitor) "What really burns me is the fact that all these exibitors add the cost of these shows into their machine prices."
  • (reply to the above thread from an exhibitor) "...You are absolutely right, the cost of trade shows is factored into machine pricing! .... ...Trade shows can only be successful if attendees show up ... it does not matter which group endorses which show. Anyway - the market will figure this all out over time as it always does."
    ITSS was asked: [What about StonExpo coming to Las Vegas the same days as your Las Vegas show?]
  • (reply)"This gives StonExpo the dubious distinction of being one of the only trade shows in the entire trade show industry to do such a thing. It is simply not done and goes against the collective good management judgment of the industry." reply:
  • (from "-ITSS changed their dates of ITSS Las Vegas in 2004 to pre-empt the LA Show."
    from ITSS:
  • "I know some people reference my shifting of dates when they came to LA - that is common defensive maneuvering and there is a big huge difference between two shows 400 miles apart or as in the case of Vegas 40 blocks. It is as if StonExpo finally woke up and heard people's requests from 1999 for a west coast show and now they say OK - We're here! Come give us your money that we really didn't earn or deserve. We'll just close or eyes and imagine there isn't a successful show in Vegas already. Now everyone close your eyes."
  • "Exhibitors within the industry had voiced dissatisfaction about existing trade shows' lack of responsiveness to their specific concerns and desires. These concerns ranged from selection of venues to rising exhibition costs. ITSS management listened carefully to exhibitors and dedicated itself to providing the industry with what it wanted: world class permanent venues and professional management at a value price. " reply:
  • (from "-ITSS scheduled their show in Miami before Coverings in response to the industry's request."
  • "It is defensive maneuvering when ITSS schedules its venue in response to the industry's request. "
  • "It is dubious and poor judgement when StonExpo schedules its venue in response to the industry's request...."
    from ITSS:
  • "Tell me what is the NEED for two shows, in the same industry in the same city at the same time???"
  • "There is no need for a duplicate show in Las Vegas - there is already a successful show that provides cost effective access to that market. StonExpo is just pulling a ill-advised childish maneuver"
  • "Coverings is a great show and let me tell you going up against the #10 sized show in the US was a little nerve racking but the mega shows are facing issues that exhibitors find problematic. For instance, in 2003 Coverings had 1.500 exhibitors and 1,680 minutes of exhibit time - you do the math - its size was its biggest problem. You physically can't see everyone. And many exhibitors felt lost - so smaller regionalized shows that ITSS offered filled the need." reply:
  • (from "So, according to ITSS, Miami needs 2 shows because Coverings has become too big. And, according to ITSS, ITSS has become bigger than Coverings, and that explains why Miami needs the ITSS show one month before Coverings and why ITSS should now be supported as the industry's # 1 show in Miami....?"
In conclusion, we hope both sides of this issue become clearer by this presentation. Please review carefully the facts and comments made by ITSS and visitors to

  • Too many trade shows? Not enough?  Poll result

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