Wow, what a full day! I’ll tell you, this may be one of the smallest trade shows I’ve seen in my last three years of attending (18 exhibitors and 30-something retailers), but the general mood on the show room floor today was also one of the best I’ve seen in the last two years… Those in attendance were on track, and seemed to be making adequate sales in proportion to the total head count.
I’ll go through every vendor below, focusing on the new kites coming out this year… Please realize, there is a wealth of products here so my coverage isn’t complete, but we did try to focus on the new products, and those that our regular readers are most likely to be interested in.
Susan and Darrin Skinner are here representing the AKA, also here is the ever-present Arrowcopter (a mainstay for nearly any kite shop) and Cohasset Imports with their wind chimes.
Ken Conrad with Great Winds Kites, International Connections (toys and kites), and the timeless Jackite company.
In The Breeze (windsocks & spinners), Windstreamers (windsocks & banners), and the William Mark Corporation with their unique flying objects.
A first year attendee was Jelly Belly (yes – the jelly bean company), we also had Magnum Enterprises with their extensive and wonderful variety of rubber band guns, and Liston Concepts with their hackey sacks, juggling sticks and balls.
On the “serious” kite note, we start with Premier who brought out the “South China Sea” by Jon Burkhardt (above-left), the Airplane kite by Carstab Domann (above-center) and the Swallow Taiil Delta (above-right).
From the fine folks at Flying Wings, the Silver Fox series (2.5 and 2.3) in standard, UL and vented models… Also new this year, the UL Acrobatx.
From Revolution, a color-matched progressive stack (Rev II, 1.5 and I), the new SLE sail colors and of course, the new Barresi Series package.
David and Susan Gomberg brought out three new trick-oriented kites from Kevin Sanders, two sizes of Genki kite and the “Skywriter”, a diamond kite which is very reminiscent of the old Peter Powell kites.
In the HQ booth, they brought out the Maestro, Apex traction series and the Jive, as well as some modified older designs.
From New Tech and Dodd Gross, we found the BLK (Big Loud Kite?), the French Kiss (a smaller and different spin on the French Connection) and the Evening Star by Robert Brasington.
A tour through the labyrinth that was Go Fly’s Booth revealed the Trainer 2.0, and a really fun and interesting item called the Power Flyer, and of still in their product line, the Beautiful Evil quad line kite.
Again, whole this was far from a thorough walk through the products we saw on the trade show floor, they are certainly some of the main highlights… Compared to years past, I observed that on the whole, there were fewer new sport kites introduced than last year, but a few of them appear to be quite promising.
After the show closed at 6pm and I grabbed a fast dinner, we made our way into the annual business meeting where the organizational stuff happens… And, a couple very interesting and encouraging changes were made this year.
One, members will no longer be divided by their annual revenue and will all play an equal role in the voting processes, where previously, only Principal, or higher-earning companies were allowed to vote… Now, everyone is involved.
Two, the size of the board was reduced from nine to six, which better reflects the current membership of KTAI (roughly 100 members).
Additionally, it appears that the annual dues will be reduced significantly to encourage a growth in membership… As always, there was a fair amount of discussion regarding how much time should be dedicated to product demo versus educational workshops for retailers, which is an ongoing topic every year.
Last but not least, the board of directors changed as they do every year with this past year’s president Don Dixon (above-left) handing over the reigns to our new KTAI president.
While it’s still unconfirmed, I’ve heard it through the grapevine that a very reluctant David Gomberg was elected president of the organization despite his active attempt to retire out of such roles, he was so hoping to be able to relax and enjoy some free time, as well as spending more time on his business.
Reluctant or not, David has a proven track record during his stints as president of these types of organizations, and will no doubt do much to help us see more of the kind of changes we saw tonight.
There you have it folks, my report for the day… It’s now 3:55am in Albuquerque and I’m scheduled to be co-moderator of a seminar on operating a web business at 8am tomorrow, oh, wait, that’s today.
With love, I retire for a couple hours of sleep!