It’s great news that the Louisville Show is returning in 2011. It demonstrates that producers of factory built homes and services are positive about the future of our industry. It would be so easy not to be positive. We seem to find new impediments affecting our business every day. However, leaders are able to see further down the road. The bad laws will either be amended somewhat, or the industry will adapt. For those of you around in 1974, that was supposed to be the end of the industry because the federal government was taking over the supervision of the industry’s building code. We’ve had many such declarations of doom since the beginning of our industry. Some people just don’t believe it and figure out a way to proceed. When the Louisville Show didn’t go forward earlier this year, most people didn’t figure it would ever return. They were wrong. Thanks to forward thinking, it is back!
Let’s think about how remarkable this quick comeback really is. Many producers have found it easier and less costly just to have a show for their own retailers at company-owned factories. In that fashion, you don’t have your retailers looking over other homes at a larger setting like the Louisville MH Show. Business is difficult now. If you have a strong retailer, it might be easier to use this method, hoping the retailer won’t go to anyone else’s show.
But, on the other hand, if you’re part of a large show, then you might attract other retailers. As a company, you need to have confidence in your product. What better way to find out if your new model works than to show it off to as many retailers as possible.
In addition to the industry confidence displayed by this decision of bringing the show back, there are other benefits in having the show. For retailers and community owners, having a show of this magnitude is an excellent opportunity to visit with a large number of industry personnel and experts. Studies have shown that much of our learning experience comes from incidental learning. Going to a show, like the Louisville MH Show, gives one plenty of exposure to having informal conversations with other attendees and with experts on a wide array of topics. Formal learning is also important. The 2011 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show will have seminars on topics important to all segments of the industry.
Finally, there is just something special in being part of a large scene like the Louisville Show. When you get that many people together, there is an energy created that can’t be replicated at your office or factory. That’s why most executive directors enjoy our annual meetings. Sure, we find plenty of things to worry about: will that speaker I hired really do a good job… will the food be o.k., etc.?
What we enjoy is seeing our members come together, get excited about things, and create an energy that can propel some advancements.
That’s what the Louisville Show is all about. Even though Iowa is not a cosponsoring state, many Iowa retailers buy homes from producers who will be showing homes, products and services in Louisville. I know that Iowa retailers, as well as retailers and community owners and all industry personnel from throughout the trade area of the show, will be looking forward to attending the show in January.
Congratulations are in order for those who have brought this great show back into existence! Now it’s our turn to demonstrate the same confidence in the industry by attending and engaging ourselves in the 2011 Louisville Show, January 12-14th.
Executive Vice President of the Iowa Manufactured Housing Association (IMHA), a 63-year-old trade association located in Des Moines, Iowa.