By Steve Noe
As you may recall, last month I used this space to bring you 17 reasons to attend the 2017 Green Industry & Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO) — set to take place on Wednesday, Oct. 18 (Dealer Day), as well as Thursday, Oct. 19, and Friday, Oct. 20 (all industry participants), at Louisville’s Kentucky Exposition Center. We also brought you the industry’s most in-depth preview of the show in the cover story.
This month, I want to bring you up to speed on the latest GIE+EXPO developments, so you don’t miss a thing.
Just before going to press with this issue, I received official word that this year’s GIE+EXPO and co-located Hardscape North America (HNA) are shaping up to be the largest ever, topping the past two record-setting shows. Exhibits are expected to cover 50,000 square feet more than last year, and early bird attendee registrations are up 13 percent over last year’s record-setting numbers. Exhibitor participation is also up, with approximately 1,000 GIE+EXPO and HNA exhibits (indoors and outdoors); 20 percent are new exhibitors. Dealer programming — including the opening keynote luncheon, the new Dealer Boot Camp by Bob Clements, UTV University presented by OPE and sister publication Powersports Business, and the free 30-minute dealer workshops — are expected to draw more than 1,000 participants. More new product introductions are expected, with more than 100 products in the sold-out New Products Showcase, and more than 25 exhibitors hosting press conferences. At last check, the following exhibitors have already scheduled press conferences: Altoz, Ariens/Gravely, Briggs & Stratton, Caterpillar, Dixie Chopper, Hustler Turf Equipment, Hydro-Gear, Jacobsen, Kawasaki Engines, Kubota, Mean Green Mowers, Schiller Grounds Care and Stihl Inc.
Speaking of Stihl Inc., the Virginia Beach, Va.-based company will continue its Dealer Day tradition with its Oktoberfest-themed booth, featuring live entertainment, free beer and brats, and the launch of its latest products and innovations. Oh yeah, and Stihl Inc. will hold its $5,000 giveaway for one lucky winner in a drawing held at 6:30 p.m., but you must be present to win.
Wright Manufacturing will celebrate the 20th birthday of the industry’s first stand-on mower — the Stander — at its indoor booth (#3094). During Dealer Day, Wright will celebrate with cake and champagne from 3 to 7 p.m. On Thursday and Friday, you can stop by Wright’s booth from 11 a.m. to noon to have your picture taken with Bill Wright, the company’s president and CEO and the inventor of the first stand-on mower. Throughout the show, Wright Manufacturing will hand out special 20th anniversary T-shirts (while supplies last) to anyone who will take a selfie wearing the shirt; post it on Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter; and tag Wright.
Echo Inc. is challenging GIE+EXPO visitors to see if they are “extreme enough” to survive what it is calling “the most advanced human testing facility in outdoor power equipment history” — the Echo Chamber. In its Sept. 1 press release, Echo issued the following statement: “By redefining the standard in quality, performance and durability for professional lawn equipment, Echo realizes that precision equipment so extreme requires a new kind of professional to operate its new X Series.” Echo added that the X Series equipment is so extreme that only the hardest-working and committed professionals can challenge the limits of its capabilities. Visitors can see if they meet the challenge by experiencing the Echo Chamber in booth #5112.
More GIE+EXPO news will continue to pour in between now and the show, so please be sure to continue to look for updates on OPE’s website at outdoorpowerequipment.com and Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OutdoorPowerEquipmentMag. I wish you safe travels to Louisville and the best of luck for a successful show. I hope to see you there.
OPE Senior Editor Steve Noe