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American exhibitors thrilled with METS

Sue-Smith---SS-Marin#7E6210

By Craig Ritchie
November 22, 2013
Filed under Features, Top Stories

In spite of concerns that the lagging European economy could hinder business, a number of American exhibitors at METS are delighted with their results as day two wraps up at the world’s largest boating trade show.

First-time METS exhibitor Sue Smith, CEO of SS Marine Products, Farmington IL, said her company has virtually doubled its export business after two days of exhibiting. “We’ve been in business for 20 years next year, and this is our first METS. I have to say, I’m just overwhelmed. This is the best show ever. The quality of people coming through, and their interest level, is fantastic,” she said. “We had a small international distribution network and now after a day-and-a-half here, it’s a lot bigger. We came to sell product and we’ve made some excellent contacts from distributors in Iceland, Turkey, the Middle East and of course different parts of Europe. I’m kicking myself for not having done this show previously.”

“Opening day was very busy. We had people from 20 different different countries visit our booth expressing an interest in buying our product,” agrees Rob Walsh, President of Bend, OR-based Ocean Equipment. “We come to meet with our existing distributors, as we sell product in 25 different countries. But we usually come away from the show with new distributors in new markets. The first half of the show has been very busy, so we’re pleased.”

Attendance through the first two days appears to be in line with that of last year, or perhaps slightly higher year-over-year says Annalie Koomen, Marketing Communications Manager at Amsterdam RAI. The three-day show typically attracts close to 20,000 marine industry professionals from around the globe.

“Between new retailers and distributors, we’ve probably signed some sort of new business once every 20 or 30 minutes throughout the show,” said Brock Templeman, Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Sting Ray Hydrofoils, Lenexa, KS. “Last year’s METS was very good but not like this, not at this pace. The buyers are definitely here to do business this year. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

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