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Widespread Optimism at Midwest Show
This year’s Midwest Forest Industry Show featured 106 suppliers exhibiting their products and services

By Staff
Date Posted: 11/3/2003

It is no secret that the U.S. economy has been in a slump. The forest products industry, especially the pallet community, has felt the full brunt of the sluggish economy for three years. Machinery shows and expos have produced mixed results during this time. The good shows drew a fair amount of tire kickers, but results were okay at best.

The Midwest Forest Industry Show was held in September at the St. Charles Family Arena in St. Louis. The biennial trade show has consistently drawn a good crowd over the years while in Cape Girardeau, Mo. The show moved to St. Louis in 2001. The first show at the new location was a few short weeks after the 9/11 attacks and was not a good measure of how the new location would be received.

This year’s show erased any possible doubts about the new location. The Midwest Forest Industry Show, sponsored and conducted by the Missouri Forest Products Association (MFPA), is steadily building a reputation as one of the better machinery expos in the country.

The weather forecast Thursday night seemed favorable, calling for isolated thunderstorms. I woke up Friday to find that the thunderstorms were isolated right overhead. There was a lake in the hotel parking lot. However, most of the rain cleared out by the time the show started – there was only intermittent rain the first two hours.

Despite the less than ideal weather conditions, neither attendance nor spirits was dampened. Saturday was a banner day for attendance. The crowd, although arriving a little later than normal both days, was all business.

This year’s Midwest Forest Industry Show featured 106 suppliers exhibiting their products and services. Suppliers of sawmill equipment, pallet machinery, pallet recycling equipment, chippers, debarkers, chain saws, logging equipment, trucks, trailers and various services were all well represented.

The consensus of exhibitors was quite positive. They agreed that it has been several years since a machinery show had this kind of upbeat feel. Contacts were well pleased with the size and quality of the turnout. Almost everyone reported good activity. Although it is unusual to close sales at trade shows, a number of sales were reported.

It was a dramatic shift from the Atlanta Expo earlier this year. The optimism in the forest products industry -- and in the pallet market in particular -- is a welcome change. The industry needed this kind of show.

Besides closing sales, exhibiting suppliers also came away with good leads. When asked about the improved machinery sales climate, everyone pointed to the economic recovery.

Attendees to the show hailed from 28 states, including New York, Massachusetts, Florida, Nevada and California. Visitors attending from outside of the U.S. came from Mexico, Canada, and Guatemala.

The MFPA offered a seminar on heat treating that was open to all registered participants.

Cory Ridenhour, executive director and CEO of the MFPA, also serves as show director. He and his staff deserve big time kudos for hosting another fine show.

The MFPA sponsors and conducts the Midwest Forest Industry Show every two years. If you missed this year’s show, don’t repeat your mistake. Start making plans to attend in 2005. The new location is a winner that will allow the show to grow further. It will only get better.


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