What You See is What You Look For: Parting Thoughts on the NRA Show

What You See is What You Look For: Parting Thoughts on the NRA Show

Food & Drink

What You See is What You Look For: Parting Thoughts on the NRA Show


What you saw depends on what you were looking for.

This was my 14th NRA Show in Chicago.

And I liked it.

Some of the exhibitors and co-workers I talked to thought the attendance was low. I didn’t. We would have to check with the gate to get the attendance stats… but why? It seemed like there was activity in the booths, not just the aisles. And isn’t that why exhibitors exhibit?

I did notice that the big exhibitors seemed to have scaled back and some were even absent. But that just seemed to help the vibe. The little guys were up out of the basement and brought their ‘we’re smaller so we try harder’ attitudes.

And I was looking for new and cool and saw some of that:

⋅ Bamboo everything (archipel.com). Service-ware, accessories, decorations. The great renewable resource was everywhere.

⋅ The Korean Presentation. An excellent marriage of art, culture and culinary. Dancers, Drummers and Kimchi.

⋅ Oregon in Chicago (oregoninchicago.com) For the third year, multiple producers collaborated on a wonderful reception. A campfire, some logs and of course great food and libations made from indigenous produce and livestock.

⋅ Not great tech. One thing I didn’t see was any astounding technology. I believe we are lagging behind retail in our tech innovations, as usual.

⋅ Little things. Okay now for the fun stuff, trivial to some, but the things I tell people about in cabs:

– The rotary potato cutter (twistpotatoes.com) Just cut, twist, skewer, fry, salt and serve. Money.  – The exotic menu cover guys (emenucovers.com) Laser cut, etched, embossed, metal wood, you name it.

– Who doesn’t like the feeling of the new Dyson Hand Dryer (dysonairblade.com). Like an invisible towel. – And how about the fat jigglers (euroshine.com). You just stand there and get in shape. Drink a beer, shake it off. Amazing.

Now, I’m back home. And I’m sure, like every year, there is much I did not have time to see.

But what I did see seemed to be working harder. There was an optimistic vibe in some areas that I didn’t expect to find.

I found it inspirational.

And, I was looking for inspiration.

From Guest Blogger Steve Popp.


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