As the revitalization of Made in America products and manufacturing continues across the country, nowhere was this more evident this past week, than in Sevierville, Tenn., during the 2014 International Gift Exposition in the Smokies (IGES). This week’s event marked the 15th anniversary for North America’s largest gift and souvenir show and one where a special spotlight was reserved for Made in America and handcrafted items.
This year’s show’s renewed focus on American-made products didn’t happen by accident, it was driven by demand from buyers.
“Due to the number of requests the show organizers received this past year from buyers and a shift in the marketplace, they made a huge effort in getting more handcrafted and American-made products front and center for attendees,” said David Bobo, Sevierville Convention Center Director.
To do this, event organizers dedicated a large section of the Sevierville Convention Center floor to these exhibitor groups. Additionally, all handcrafted and ‘Made in America’ exhibitors had signage displayed, making them easier for buyers to locate.
“It was great to walk around the convention center floor and see so many products and handcrafted items made here in this country,” added Bobo. “We hope this is a trend that continues for years to come.”
The Sevierville Convention Center, along with the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. hosted more than 10,000 during the IGES’ week-long event. The show, now in its 15th year has experienced extraordinary growth since 2000. The event began with only 272 booths and barely 3,000 buyers and has now grown to include more than 1,200 booths.
Also, during this year’s event, IGES hosted national buying groups, including ZAG (Zoo and Aquarium Gift Buyers), the NCA (National Caves Association), Museum Buyers, Campground Buyers, Water Park Buyers and Amusement Park Buyers.
For more information on the event, visit http://iges.us/.