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International Pool & Spa | Backyard Living Expo beats expectations

Preliminary estimates indicated total attendance was above 13,000

Products, education and networking took center stage in Orlando as the 2007 International Pool & Spa Expo | Backyard Living was held Nov. 28-30, at the Orange County Convention Center.
Preliminary estimates indicated total attendance was above 13,000 and exceeded the 2005 Orlando show’s verified attendee numbers by 3%. Participants at this year’s event came from all segments of the outdoor living industry, including pool/spa builders/installers, retailers, service technicians, manufacturers, distributors, contractors/subcontractors and landscape architects/design agencies.  
Attendees represented all 50 states and 66 countries from around the world, including Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, France, Colombia, Japan, Germany, Vietnam, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Israel and the Ukraine.  
“We’re very pleased with the number of high-quality attendees who come to the IPSE | BLE to make important purchasing decisions,” said Donna Bellantone, director of the IPSE | BLE. “Attendees know there is no better way to stay on the cutting-edge of the pool, spa and backyard living industry than to attend the IPSE | BLE.”
On the show floor, attendees were spotted from the industry’s leading retailers and pool builders, including Leslie's Poolmart, Blue Haven Pools & Spas, Anthony & Sylvan Pools, Above Ground Pool & Spa, American Pools & Spas, B&B Pool and Spa Center, Carlton Pools, Downes Swimming Pool, Erickson Custom Pools & Spas, Gohlke Pools, J. Tortorella Swimming Pools, Pinch-A-Penny, Pulliam Pools, Rin Robyn Pools, Tubs of Fun and Year Round Pool Co.  
“We attend every year and every time we bring back ways to expand and enhance our business,” said Debbie Willard of Splash Pools & Spas. “We are excited to implement the information we gained from the seminars and the show.”  
Attendees were amazed with the show’s product selection. “We attended for the first time and were impressed with the amount of unique products and services we found,” said Mark Donaldson of Solar Swim in Orangeville, Ontario, Canada.  
“We were very pleased by the quality of the vendors,” said Tim Coleman, managing partner of Augusta Aquatics. “The seminars were current and informative to issues we are dealing with on our projects, providing great insights of what to expect in the coming years.”
Product-packed Exhibit Hall
With 252,000 net square feet of exhibit space, the tradeshow floor featured an array of products, new value-added services and innovative ideas in pools, spas, hot tubs, water features, casual furniture, pumps and heaters, lighting, landscape décor, hearth, grills and more.
Energy filled the exhibit halls and exhibitors were pleased with three days of steady traffic and solid attendance. “This year’s 2007 IPSE | BLE exceeded our expectations,” said Tony Roland of Custom Chemical Solutions.  “We had a large number of serious buyers.”
Don Gaylord of Modern Home Products described the Expo as fantastic. “It’s always been a good show for us,” he said.
“This was one of the best shows we’ve ever exhibited at. The quality of attendees was outstanding,” said Dennis Dickey of Landmann USA. “The leads we’ll take away are definitely going to generate some new business. I couldn’t be more happy and have already signed up for next year.”
Of the 768 exhibiting companies, 167 companies were first-time exhibitors or exhibitors who haven’t exhibited in several years, including Asia Connection, Funrooms, Newport Controls, Stormguard Screen Enclosures, Competition Pool Accessories, Innopower, Savannah Outdoor Classics, QCA Spas, 50 Below Sales & Marketing and Summit Heat Pumps.  
Bob Kreitz, president of National Pool Wholesalers, was exhibiting its tikis, saunas and gazebos for the first time. “We didn’t know what to expect, but the foot traffic has been so much. The whole Hawaiian theme is taking off dramatically because everyone wants to take a piece of their vacation home and put it in their backyard.” 
“We are very pleased with the quality of attendees,” said Jack Rhoads of The Towel Rack Genie. “As a start up company, this was the perfect venue to display my product and meet new clients.”  
“This was our first year exhibiting at the IPSE | BLE and the show far exceeded our expectations," said Marvin Gorovitz, president of Mart Products. “Most attendees who visited our booth were owners, buyers and decision-makers, resulting in sales and quality leads. The IPSE | BLE is a show that we can't afford to miss in the future.”
Educational Conference Receives Rave Reviews
In addition to the show floor’s buying and selling activity, 75 educational opportunities addressed a myriad of industry issues, including 43 technical seminars and 32 business seminars, as well as all-day specialized courses on Monday and Tuesday.  
“The seminars and speakers were phenomenal,” said first-time attendee Tammy Samples of Mink's Landscape Contractors. “The information gathered will help my business immediately.”
Attendance was strong in both the business and technical classes, reinforcing the industry's desire to pursue excellence in all areas of the pool, spa and backyard living industry. Landscape-related classes also drew strong interest, specifically classes dealing with integrating rock into landscape design around pools and spas.  
“I really enjoyed the seminars,” said Richard Hineline, Paradise Place. “I came away with several action items that I am implementing now to make my business more profitable.”
Show Floor Highlights and Special Events
An attraction that added excitement to the show floor, was the New Product Pavilion, an area where attendees could marvel at the industry’s newest, most innovative, time-saving and cost-effective products that had been introduced to the market since the November 2006 Expo.  
With 73 new products displayed, attendees were able to vote for their Best New Product, with the Pool Systems USA’s Sub Jumpa Underwater Pogo Stick winning the coveted award. Great American Merchandise & Events [GAME] took second place for its Aqua Glow Floating Lights, with Mart Products finishing in third place for its Ostrich 3N1 Beach & Patio Chair.
Attendees sharpened their skills at 19 Live Workshops, providing hands-on training, techniques and tips from the industry’s top experts.  Sponsored by the APSP Builders Council and Service Council, topics covered salt water chlorine generators, pre-cast concrete waterfall kits, heat pumps, pool circulation systems, decks, copings and water features, water treatment technology, and heat pumps, in addition to many other topics.   
Legendary NFL quarterback, Archie Manning, shared his personal anecdotes during the Keynote Address on Nov. 28. The audience of more than 1,500 heard the principles he used throughout his 15-year career for success, as well as what it takes to be a winner in any situation.     
With another successful show completed, attendees and exhibitors are looking toward the 2008 show. The International Pool & Spa Expo, Backyard Living Expo and AQUA Show have been combined into one mega show and renamed International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo, better reflecting the multiple markets served by the show. By uniting the industry under one roof, this show leverages the strengths of all three shows, creating unique opportunities for networking and interaction that won’t exist at any other event. The 2008 Expo will be held Nov. 18-20 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. The educational conference will be held Nov. 15-20 and will feature 75+ seminars.
For more information, visit or call 888-869-8522.  

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