by Tina Manzer
Everything we’ve heard about the first-ever We Connect School Supply Conference has been positive. “The attitude of the attendees was the best I’ve seen at a school-supply industry event in a long time,” reports Kevin Fahy, publisher of Educational Dealer magazine, who traveled to the three-day event held earlier this month in Orlando.
Designed to efficiently present new products coming to market, We Connect was the brainchild of Florida-based Catalog Solutions. The company has provided printed promotional materials to the educational, specialty toy, art materials, and office supply industries for more than 20 years. Ideas and suggestions from the company’s customers helped fuel the conference’s networking-filled format.
“We have received wonderful comments and recommendations for next year,” notes Brian Roberts, Catalog Solutions’ vice president of business development. “Based on what we’ve heard, more than 500 orders were placed during the event!”
Nearly 100 exhibitors were set up in the Grand Ballroom of the Rosen Centre Hotel. They welcomed 165 people from about 86 dealer companies.
“I can certainly understand why people in the industry are curious now about how it went,” says Roberts. “A number of vendors and dealers were reluctant to participate – with any new event, there is a certain amount of ‘wait and see how the first one goes’ and I respect that position. Rather than describe the conference ourselves, we collected comments and suggestions from the people who attended it. Here are just a few.
From Carson Dellosa Publishing Group: “Thank you – it was a great time! You did an amazing job!”
From Teacher Created Resources: “Great show all the way around. I think both dealers and vendors came away excited and looking forward to a repeat next year. You did an outstanding job organizing and executing this event. Hats off to you!”
From Get Smart teacher supply store: “The convention was amazing! Everyone had an awesome time. Thank you so much for stepping up to the plate and putting it together.”
From Sharp School Services: “The show was beyond excellent and I definitely look forward to coming back next year! One of the best shows I have ever been to.”
Learning Gizmos: “It was fabulous! Can’t wait for next year!”
“A lot of positive energy, enthusiasm and laughter radiated from this gathering,” adds Brian. “Our mission – to create a fun platform to bring our family of dealers and vendors together to showcase new products for 2018 – was exceeded. Many of them said, ‘This is just like the old days.’ We would like to say, “Thank you and welcome to the new days!”
The 2018 We Connect School Supply Conference is scheduled for November 13 through 16 at the the Rosen Centre Hotel.