(ATLANTA) – For the first time since early March, the Atlanta Jewelry Show (AJS) welcomed the industry back to its trade show floor this past weekend, October 23-25.
The “Open For Business” AJS experience began by completing a health screening by cell phone. After a quick temperature scan, guests then received a wristband indicating whether they were cleared to enter the event. Once a badge and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kit were distributed to everyone, it was showtime!
Guided by its Safety Shines Plan, the Atlanta Jewelry Show implemented a series of precautionary measures for the event:
- Controlling the check-in process to direct attendee flow with signage and floor stickers
- Daily health screening and temperature scanning prior to entry
- Mandatory mask rule and enforcement
- Rearranging floor plans and seating to respect physical distancing
- Providing complimentary PPE kits to all attendees and exhibitors
“It was so important for us to make our attendees feel safe and comfortable enough to join us in Atlanta. This has been a difficult time for our industry, so it was imperative that we provide a safe space to learn, conduct business and reconnect,” said Executive Director Libby Brown. “People were so enthusiastic because, like me, this was the first industry event that they’ve attended in months. But more importantly, it helped to create positive momentum that our industry can safely come together again.”
As part of its safety protocols, AJS implemented a new technology designed to help restart physical events easily and safely. HealthShield by 42Chat is a simple, text based COVID symptom screening tool. The user receives a text directing them to a three-question, CDC-compliant survey. Once completed, the user receives a response indicating whether access is granted or denied. Show management did a great job organizing attendee entry, and attendees appreciated the extra attention to detail that was given to ensure they felt at ease.
The AJS ConnectED Conference on Friday kicked off the weekend with innovative and timely seminars. Buyers were hungry for knowledge and insights, and the outstanding lineup of presenters did not disappoint. Director of Education Cindy Chandler noted: “I was thrilled with how receptive our community was to the abbreviated version of our popular pre-show conference, but frankly a little nervous about the logistics. I was happily surprised by the amount of respect and grace shown during these strange times. Arriving early and ready to learn, everyone wore a mask and practiced physical distancing. Because of that, we were able to deliver a great program. Even though everyone was seated at least six feet apart, we were more connected than ever.”
The tradeshow featured over 115 vendors, who could not contain their excitement about meeting face-to-face with customers. Hand sanitizing stations were readily available throughout the show, and protective barriers were provided to each exhibitor.
While speaking with many vendors, the same sentiment was repeated: pure elation. Exhibitors including Brevani, IDD, Raymond Mazza, Kelly Waters, Heera Moti, Cargo Hold, Time Delay and others were literally overjoyed to showcase their merchandise in person, and were thrilled at the amount of orders that were written during the two day event.
Exhibitor, Eric Lux from Rembrandt Charms, was excited to be back at a live event and was showcasing his latest products to enthusiastic buyers. “I am so glad that AJS had the courage to have a show. All of my customers were here to buy, and with the holidays coming up, the timing was perfect,” states Eric.
Exhibitor, Kaushal Shah of Veer added, “Bravo! Thank you for showing everyone how it’s done, and that it can be done safely.”
Exhibitor, Rebekah Anderson, owner of Earth Pebbles Vintage & Estate Jewelry, said, “You guys really knocked it out of the park, and what a precedent you have set for the industry by bringing us all back together safely.”
Kimberly Collins, owner of Kimberly Collins Colored Gems, added, “On opening day, I was both optimistic and cautious. I couldn’t believe the excitement and energy I felt on the show floor. After months of lock down, people were masked up, and ready for business and human connection.”
Retail buyers were equally delighted (“almost giddy”) when they arrived onsite and reconnected with suppliers and friends, many of whom they consider family.
Harris Botnick, owner of Worthmore Jewelers, shared, “The team at AJS has gone above and beyond to make this show happen. We are so glad to finally be back, and we felt completely safe, thanks to their hard work and creative thinking. We’ve always loved this show, and we could really feel the positive energy.”
Susan Foster, McFerrin’s Jewelry (AL) said, “We don’t know how you did it, but we couldn’t be happier to be here. We are a small-town jeweler and with all the uncertainty right now, we were so worried about getting product for the holidays. You have thought of everything, we felt safe, and the attention to detail was incredible.”
The director of the Event Medical Team, Bryan Goodridge, when asked if he encountered anything that caused concern, responded: “This was the smoothest event I have worked since live events have returned. The Atlanta Jewelry Show staff, along with Cobb Galleria Centre, Positive Protection and Shepard Expositions carefully crafted the protocols, and they were strictly adhered to. In fact, the most excitement we had involved my wife, also on the team, needing a band-aid.”
AJS states progress is made when we face adversity with honesty and with integrity. Although we will continue to be faced with challenges, the power of passion, determination and community should not be underestimated. The Atlanta Jewelry Show has forged a path forward for live events by listening to the industry, both buyers and vendors. They are ready to get back to live events, and they wish to do so in a safe and responsible way. AJS showed definitively that it can be done, and it can be done well.
The spring edition of the Atlanta Jewelry Show, the SoHo Experience will be March 6-8, 2021 at the Cobb Galleria Centre. Save the date and check the AJS website www.atlantajewelryshow.com soon for further information. Registration opens November 27, 2020.
About the Atlanta Jewelry Show
For 70 years, Atlanta has been the host of the Atlanta Jewelry Show. Known for its unparalleled accessibility, compact walkable entertainment districts, and unlimited attractions for all ages, this vibrant city is an ideal destination. The show’s official sponsor and producer, the Southern Jewelry Travelers Association, is the nation’s oldest association for independent jewelry representatives. For information about the Spring event, March 6-8, 2021, visit www.atlantajewelryshow.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-241-0399 or 404-634-3434.