Since my first trip to Interbike back in 1997 I have always looked forward to the Big Show. I have been as a manufacturer's rep (with Chris King), as a marketing director (with Old Man Mountain) and most recently as a consultant. My fondest memories in this industry are still from standing on my feet all day and talking with dealers, the media and anyone that cared to listen about products and ideas I believe in.
To me, there's just something special about the all the best and brightest bicycle minds all under one roof at the same time. To me, it's an essential place for our industry to come together once a year.
But maybe I'm lost in some idealized version of bicycle solidarity utopia that simply doesn't exist. The reality is that there are some companies who choose not to attend at all. Notably absent from this year's show is Trek Bicycle Corp; they've decided on a "dealer-only" event at their HQ in Wisconsin instead.
Trek's decision makes me wonder about the future of the show...
- Do well-known suppliers with an established dealer networks still need Interbike?
- Will more suppliers start doing their own, dealer-only events?
- If suppliers aren't happy with the show, who's to blame? Is it the Sands Convention Center and those crazy unions and fees? Or is it the folks that run Interbike?
- A perfect trade show will never exist, but are there some fundamental changes that could make the show better for everyone?
I think Trek (and other suppliers) will regret not showing up in force to Vegas. I understand all about taking care of existing dealers and saving the cash, but I think the branding, PR and networking opportunities are too important to ignore.
What do you think?