After two successful virtual trade shows, Continental Buying Group (CBG) decided to move forward with a live show in Las Vegas, June 1-3.
In early March, CBG owners, Joe Murphy and Andie Weinman had a decision to make. JCK had moved their show to late August and due to availability, CBG was unable to line up with the JCK Show as they normally do.
With the uncertainty of the pandemic, they were unsure if they should move forward with an in-person show on their usual annual dates in June. With an extensive plan for safety precautions in place, they decided to see how their CBG retailers and suppliers felt about a live show. Every CBG retailer was personally called. They needed a commitment from at least 50% of the retail membership.
Due to social distancing protocols, there would only be space for half of the CBG suppliers. A minimum commitment was required to have a 1:1 buyer/supplier ratio at the show. Many retailers were on board, feeling that June was much better timing for them for 4th quarter initial purchases and planning.
On April 1, Joe Murphy decided to “roll the dice” and move forward with a live show. As the vaccines rolled out, and restrictions lightened up across the country, excitement for the show gained momentum.
Just one week before the show, Caesars Palace alerted the CBG that all COVID restrictions would be lifted on June 1. That just happened to be the first day of the CBG Show. CBG followed all CDC guidelines, making masks optional for those vaccinated. For the first time in CBG history, Joe and Andie also decided they would invite qualifying retail guests to visit the show. Out of 12 guests, 7 committed to join on site.
One of the visiting guest retailers, Jeff Turnbo of Nacol’s Jewelry, stated: “Our experience so far throughout our first CBG show has been extremely surprising. A lot of the time people in the better end of success in this industry are not always so open to sharing, but this has not been the case this week! We have been welcomed with open arms. Many retailers in the group have been so friendly, inviting us to sit down and talk business. It’s been great getting advice and hearing stories from such a wide variety of stores, retailers, and manufacturers.”
“The energy was off the charts!” said Andie Weinman. “The showroom floor was always busy. The retailers were all there to do business and reconnect with their CBG supplier partners.”
“Joining CBG was the best business decision I have ever made,” said CBG retailer Mark Callis from Bichsel Jewelry. “It is the premiere buying group in America for sure… probably in the world. The best jewelry buying group ever! We were the first convention to take place at Caesar’s. I’m so happy we’re back for the first time in almost two years. I’ve got to tell you, the CBG members have just gone nuts. It has been so much fun – the buying has been a frenzy. The vendors were happy, the jewelers were happy and we got to see our friends we hadn’t seen in almost two years! I’ve got to tell you, this has been fantastic. I just want to compliment and thank CBG and the entire team from the bottom of my heart for all you do. It has just been a blast!”
“For the first time CBG was the only game in town!” said Murphy.
While CBG expected a lot of pent-up demand for a live show, the success of the Vegas 2021 show far exceeded their expectations.
To keep the momentum going, Continental Buying Group will be hosting their first CBG Retreat at the JW Marriott in Tampa, FL, October 4 – 6, 2021. The retreat will incorporate a unique retailer and supplier trade show experience, combining networking for all in a social atmosphere along with education and interactive tools for everyone to RE-Connect, RE-Unite, and RE-Charge the entire CBG membership. More details regarding this new event will be released soon.
For more information on the Continental Buying Group or becoming a CBG member, please contact Estelle Hedaya at 305-868-9004.