We threw a party – you came – and had a ball! Thanks to all of you who have made this an annual event on your calendar. Your positive comments and support made our day.
And so it begins – the showroom at Checker!
How could you not have fun – twenty designers, demonstrators, and inventors; thirty trunk shows; thousands of bolts of fabric – many of it specially priced; great food; and hundreds of quilters in one room!
Granted it is a BIG room – not everyone has a 125,000 square foot warehouse at their disposal – and that wasn’t even big enough! This is why I love this place! When we found out we were having a record attendance, we knew that it was going to be tight quarters. Rob arranged to have semis brought in! These trucks held all of the merchandise – in alphabetical order – that was pre-ordered. Another held the equipment, tables, and forklifts for the receiving department – for just one day!
The receiving department on Thursday
Receiving Friday night – see the bays behind the curtains???
When you don’t have enough parking spaces, you put a door in from an adjoining parking lot – and put in steps! Oh, did I mention Rob decided to make some repairs to said parking lot two weeks before the event – and have it striped that week-end????
Just a few minor repairs…….
And why not replace the retaining wall while we’re at it!!!!
And when the phone keeps ringing, you shuttle the vendors and employees from hotels and parking lots across the street! When floor space is a premium and there is not enough room for the carts, you remove some lower shelves so you have cart corals….talk about reinventing the wheel!
AND what do you do when you have to FEED a group that would rival “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”??? You transform the space that is used to design our booth at Markets – and organize sales reps samples into a lunchroom. And why not carpet it for the day????
The “lunchroom” before the transformation
The day of the show!
It’s all about the food…..
But first and foremost, this is an opportunity to provide a showcase to educate our customers. After all, if you don’t know how to use the products, you can’t sell them! And, participants could even take the merchandise with them – often signed by the designer or author – so they could share it with THEIR customers as soon as they returned! In many cases, we premiered new products, books, and patterns that will not be launched until Fall Quilt Market. These sneak peaks are invaluable for those shops who want to stay ahead of the curve!
Shop owners talking to the vendors
We even let in a man or two…..
The vendors were like visiting the who’s who of the quilting world: Nancy Zieman and Louis Carson of Clover; Orion Burns of Quilt in a Day; authors and designers such as McKenna Ryan (Pine Needles), Donna Babylon (More Splash than Cash), Jan Kornfiend (Country Appliques), Linda Franz (Inklingo), Pat Sloan, Susan Knapp and Mary Jane Mattingly (Quilt Branch), Susan Nelson (Prairie Sky Quilting), Karen Montgomery (The Quilt Company), Renae Allen (RGA Designs), Rita Fishel (Creative Grids demonstrator), Jodi Barrows (Square in a Square) and me (Penny Haren’s Pieced Applique); and demonstrators Art Garabedian (Reliable), Jen Bartelt (AccuQuilt); Steve Butler (A & E); Pat Barry (By Design Quilting), Mimi Shimp (Simplicity), and John Brady (Guidelines 4 Quilting).
With that kind of talent in one room, how can you go wrong? And the shop owners took full advantage of the opportunity to pick the brains of some of the most inventive and creative minds in the industry! These people were simply amazing! They shared class ideas, demonstrated, and talked and talked – and talked some more…..and loved every minute of it!
Nancy Zieman always draws a crowd!
Jen Bartelt from Accuquilt and Brooke – the book buyer
the next generation doing us proud!
The vendors were done at 4:00 – and by 5:15, it was all gone!!!! The semi was unloaded – and receiving was back in business! Orion, Nancy, Louis, Jenn and Jodi were on their way to the airport!
5:00 the day of the show
The booths were packed up and ready to be returned the next day.
This is where the food had been served just hours ago!
And the lunchroom – and carpet – are gone! Within ten minutes, the tables were back in place so the sales rep samples could go out Tuesday morning!
By 5:30, we were at dinner celebrating a great day with new friends – and all too soon had to say good-bye….until next year……Rob already sent us a five page spreadsheet with possible improvements …… and so it begins! See you next year…….