February 29, 2016

It is open season for trade shows. The left bookend of the season is the Global Pet Expo, produced by the American Pet Products Association and the Pet Industry Distributors Association. Thousands of attendees and hundreds of exhibitors make preparation and organization a must for anyone planning on being at the show in Orlando March 16 through 18.

I’ll repeat the usual tips for attendees here: Wear comfortable clothing, especially shoes. Make sure you have a bag that’s big enough to carry samples, as well as room in your luggage for them. Bring plenty of business cards. Although there will be plenty of pens given out at the show—even at our booth, #2477—bring a few to take notes.

Don’t overlook all the available learning opportunities. Global Pet Expo Academy offers many educational sessions you can attend for free. How does one visit all the exhibitors, socialize and learn a thing or two about pet specialty retailing all in just three days? Preparation and organization.

“Thousands of profit-making products and ideas under one roof!” is this year’s slogan and I don’t doubt it’s true. Print out your buyers’ brochure ahead of the show. Review the list of training opportunities; the topics include social media, employee recruiting and what looks to be my favorite, “Be a Better Manager.” Populate your calendar with the dates and times so that you can plan to visit with vendors on the show floor. Take a printed copy with you and keep it on your smart phone.

I will be visiting with many of the exhibitors and hope to run into some of you in between. Please stop by our booth and renew your magazine subscription, ask about upcoming editorial features or just say hello. If you’re not headed to this year’s Global Pet Expo, perhaps we’ll see each other during the right side of the bookends—Super Zoo in Las Vegas, Nevada, August 2 through 4 and P3 in Chicago, August 24 and 25.

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