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Trade Show Q&A: Atlanta Shoe Market

Laura Conwell-O'Brien.

As the industry looks ahead to a summer trade show season with in-person events returning, we checked in with Laura Conwell-O'Brien, Executive Director of The Atlanta Shoe Market to see how the August event is shaping up. Having already held a successful in-person event back in February,  Atlanta Shoe Market is seeing even more interest in its show this summer, says Conwell-O’Brien.

The Atlanta Shoe Market is scheduled to take place August 14-16 at Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta.

How is the August Show coming together?

“Currently [as of early May], the August Show is at 98 percent of registered brands and retailers compared to the February 2020 show. Most companies have lifted travel bans so everyone is excited to be back to an in-person show. We are on target for a great August Show.”

What did you learn from having an in-person show this past February? How will this summer’s show be similar (or different) when it comes to protocols and safety issues?  

“The  main thing I learned from an in-person show is that everyone was ready for a person-to-person show. They are all Zoomed out and do not feel that they are getting the real feel of the product via Zoom.

In my 39 years as the director of the Atlanta Shoe Market, the February 2021 show was the first show with absolutely no complaints. Everyone was happy and loved being back to some normalcy.

The August 2021 show will be similar to the February 2021 show with all safety protocols in place.”

The overall trade show schedule looks a bit different this summer. Are you anticipating seeing newcomers to your show who may have been attending other shows in the past?

“I am already seeing an increase in new brand registration as well as a great response from West Coast and East Coast retailers who have never attended. They know they can attend The Atlanta Show and see more brands than any other show in the U.S. and all under one roof.”

What should attendees expect in Atlanta?

“Attendees should expect to still see the socially distanced floor plans as well as all safety protocols that are set forth by the CDC and the state. At this point we are planning the same protocols as the February 2021 show unless the CDC and the state change or lift the current protocols.”

Anything else you want to add?

“I am pleased to announce that NSRA will be sponsoring a Retail Seminar on Sunday, August 15th. Further details will be available in the beginning of July.  

In addition, The Atlanta Shoe Market will be sponsoring a complimentary Cocktail Reception on Saturday, August 14th, in the main hall of the convention center from 6:30-7:30 PM for all attendees.”

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May 12, 2021


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