It’s been dubbed the “big show for the bow,” and that rings true as a rallying cry for the annual ATA Trade Show, but it’s also a million other things.

For starters, it’s like a “second Christmas.” At least that’s what many eager retailers called the event through comments and posts on their shop’s social media accounts. Yet, the 2014 ATA Trade Show, held in Nashville, Tenn., at the newly constructed, downtown Music City Center, remains – first and foremost – a business opportunity for thousands of ATA members.

“[The ATA Show is] becoming more of a writing show as time goes on,” said Steve Sims, president/CEO of Sims Vibration Laboratory. “We actually wrote a lot of orders this year. Our orders were up from last year. I don’t know if the foot traffic was lighter or stronger, but it seemed that our booth was busier this year than last year.”

As the Show approached, winter weather disrupted travel in some regions of the country. But archery businesses are resilient and arguably a little stubborn. In the end, most found a way to Nashville by Monday and worked the floor during the three-day event. Many even spent time on Nashville’s Broadway, the Music City’s downtown nerve center, for live music and good eats.

A record-setting total of 1,047 retail and distribution buying companies represented by a near-record 3,193 individual dealers, distributors and buyers attended the show, which is good news for the business value of the event. Not to be outdone, exhibitors topped their previous numbers by coming in at 584 strong. This amounted to 186,576 square feet of brands, products and innovation.

“The 2014 ATA Show was a huge success for the Last Chance Archery crew,” said Wendy Clark of Last Chance Archery, LLC. “I have to admit I was more than a little concerned about the weather forecast and how it would affect the number of people at the Show. But, the weather wasn’t a problem and a steady flow of traffic from both returning and new customers in our booth kept us on our toes!”

ATA President/CEO Jay McAninch said, by all accounts, the ATA had a historically successful show.

“There’s no doubt we were lucky we didn’t get caught in Indianapolis this year, where the snow fall and winter weather were far worse,” he said. “But this Show – in spite of travel disruptions – drew record attendance from our all-important retailer/buyer/distributor membership. Frankly, the word we got from nearly all exhibitors was the 2014 Show set new records for orders and for the strength of the people walking the show floor. Many said the ‘tire-kickers’ were few, while the buyers with company authority were the norm. As we’ve seen for the past few years, the archery and bowhunting industry is healthy and growing.”

Attendance brimmed off the show floor too, with Outtech hosting a sold-out crowd of 3,000 for their annual Innovations event held the night before Show open. This year, the event headlined reigning Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year and American Country Award Artist of the Year Luke Bryan. Though many retailers were up late Sunday night taking in the concert, they woke early Monday morning to give ATA’s Archery Academy the highest one-day attendance in the seminar series’ 13-year history.

For a complete report of attendance numbers and comparison tables, download the PDF.

Image courtesy Archery Trade Association

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