As of press time, many of the specific elements of this year’s show were still in the planning stages. Visit www.stafda.org regularly for more information as details are announced.
Last year the convention was held in Nashville, Tenn., with 969 booths, topping the previous Las Vegas show by 36 booths. The attendance figure of 5,596 was second only to 2006’s Vegas meeting.
The two highlights of the convention were keynote speaker, Chris Gardner, and country superstar, Martina McBride. Gardner’s keynote address was a message of hope and what can be accomplished with a positive attitude, hard work, and perseverance. Opening Party entertainer McBride and her band provided a high-energy performance. Aside from these highlights, the convention featured a year in review, educational workshops, and the annual Tech & Consultants’ Fair, where STAFDA members came looking for new software, hardware, e-commerce, and other technology providers to answer questions and demonstrate the latest innovative products.
Another staple of the event is the educational workshops. Last year, STAFDA’s financial consultant, Dr. Al Bates, presented ways to assure profits in a changing economic climate. More workshops are in the works for this year’s show.
The STAFDA event isn’t just about meetings, though, as exhibitors will also be out in force for the trade show aspect of the event. Most exhibitors will offer show specials, prize drawings or will be introducing their 2009 product lines. After the trade show closes, many manufacturers entertain with hospitality parties or private dinners.
As in past years, the STAFDA Convention & Trade Show will also include activities and outings for spouses and companions. The show is expected to end with a closing party that will both wrap up the 2008 show and offer a preview of next year’s event.
Registration materials for the convention will be mailed to members on June 27, and on-line registration from the members-only section of the website begins June 30. The conference is open to members only. For membership information visit www.stafda.org or call (800) 352-2981.