ANM Expo Winter 2014 Show Review
By Kiernan Manion
I’ve been covering the news, products, businesses and people within the Army Navy surplus world for almost a year now, and I’m blown away by the wide variety of stories and backgrounds. The Army Navy Expo is unique each time it takes place. At this year’s show, there were 167 exhibitors with 250 booths showcasing their businesses, services and merchandise to 2,300 unique buyers from the US and over 50 different countries. The ANME Winter Expo took place in the spacious Bally’s Events Center in Las Vegas with the best turnout yet!
When I arrived at the venue, a glimpse of the warm, sunny Nevada sky and shimmering skyline of the Strip resorts and hotels could be seen from the busy loading bays. The glitz and glamour of Las Vegas adds an element of excitement and freedom to the show’s atmosphere, bringing in not only more foot traffic, but a fresh crop of new exhibitors to draw attention to the show. The turnout was significant and the summer ANM Expo will return to Las Vegas this August.
Setting up the Show
Arriving during the show setup was a fascinating experience. The threshold of enormous crates and containers holding tens of thousands of products began the room’s transformation into a showroom for the industry. The strictly-business atmosphere that exists when you combine over 160 businesses into one room with the purpose of securing contracts and selling product, surrounded by the partying Vegas atmosphere, was quite mesmerizing. It was exciting to be there, but everyone had a job to do and put their attention towards the show.
One of my favorite characteristics of the vendors was their smooth, instinctive tenacity to set their booths up quickly and effectively. The discipline and efficiency I saw at the show were very characteristic of this hard-working group of individuals. Each booth developed a distinct look that drew me into the colorful displays.
The variety of vendors spread throughout a number of product categories, including true military surplus (both domestic and imported), outerwear, outdoor/camping, pins/patches, headwear, footwear, self-defense, cutlery, bags/ pouches, MREs, and a ton of specialty merchandise and manufacturers that attract customers to the Army Navy retail industries every day.
The products I just mentioned can be used for a multitude of activities and uses, so there really is something for everyone to find and enjoy. Honor your country, try a new outdoor activity, stock up on emergency supplies, upgrade your wardrobe, or just find the best deals on reliable, unique products. The possibilities are endless!
The first day of the show proved to be a busy one, with over 100 buyers lined up at the entrance ready to browse the vendors’ inventories spread throughout the showroom floor. Buyers flooded the Expo in search of distinctive inventory and product lines for their businesses. Connections were made, colleagues were reunited and the spirit of the industry was alive and well.
The international presence at this year’s show was also the most widespread as well, and further proves the reach and appeal of the products sold by wholesalers and retailers alike. The demand for authentic, well-made, affordable gear fits a niche customer demographic. This demand makes the prototypical Army Navy store, which sells these products, worthy of a visit for a large variety of diverse customers.
Days 2 and 3
Over the next two days, the foot traffic kept rising. Many first-time and veteran buyers returned to further investigate the booths, make additional product test-drives and sign contracts. There’s a certain power to seeing the products and meeting the vendors in person rather than visiting a website.
Overall, it was a busy three days. As the show was disassembled and people were leaving, I felt a sense of great accomplishment. Just like the attendees we served, the industrious and courteous staff of David Castlegrant and Associates made the show an outstanding success.
We would like to extend an enormous thanks to all who were a part of this year’s Winter ANM Expo! With the most exhibitors and buyers ever, the show had the variety, character and spirit that makes this industry so unique and attractive.
For more information about the show and to register as a buyer or exhibitor, visit ANMExpo.com. For more photos from the show and information about the next shows in August 2014 and January 2015, visit the ANM Expo Facebook page.
The ANM Expo is a special event for both buyers and exhibitors, and with spots rapidly filling up for August and next January, the future shows will be even bigger and more exciting!