Slow going: Business less than brisk at consumer goods trade show

As an exhibitor, you never want parking to be an easy experience at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Even worse, you don’t want to get to your booth without fighting through a sea of humanity on the trade show floor. But that’s exactly how Lana Baltodano knew this week would be tough.

As manager of Keseff, a manufacturer of sound-activated, light-up T-shirts and gloves, she came to the ASD LV trade show with a goal of selling as much product as possible to retail buyers through Wednesday. Unfortunately, not many of the roughly 41,000 attendees are making purchases.

The Las Vegas-based company has exhibited at ASD LV for three years.

“People seem a little more hesitant to buy this time around,” Baltodano said.

Keseff’s owner was more blunt.

“This show is a disaster,” owner Alex Miriasov said.

ASD LV is a consumer goods trade show where manufacturers show products from multiple channels: jewelry, healthy and beauty, toys, food and fashion accessories.

On one aisle you might see mini, collectible tea sets and on another feather wigs and Carnivale masks might be waiting.

Another local company, LV Sales, had a sea of rhinestone block letter charms resting in jewelry showcase trays at its booth. Even with all the bling, sales there too were stunted.

“It’s slower than before. People are waiting. Our whole business is slower than last year,” owner Ken Jia said.

All of their buyers, he said, not just at the show, are complaining about retail sales slowing. LV Sales’ customers are comprised of dollar stores and gift shops throughout the United States.

“We have more than 400 buyers and the majority of them are buying less,” Jia said.

Outside the convention center at lunchtime, a rare sight showed itself Monday: Big Daddy’s Barbecue tent was completely visible from all angles.

“When they’re slow, you know it’s slow,” Oliver Naidas said as he pointed to their tent from his SausageFest food truck.

Naidas’ truck can be found in front of the convention center for most major trade shows. He said other, busier shows will bring him five times the business that ASD did on Monday.

“It seems like a lot of people here are very price-sensitive,” Naidas said.

The Las Vegas-based Alexander Kalifano brand was exhibiting inside North Hall Monday. Owner Alex Khalaf has been coming to this show since 1999, twice a year. He said a few years ago his retail partners had one or two opportunities a year to do their shopping. Now they can shop more frequently online.

“The traffic is down because there’s not a big urgency just to shop during show times,” Khalaf said.

Khalaf’s brand is holding its own — it had a steady steam of customers on Monday — but many of his longtime show neighbors are talking about not returning to ASD or paring down their booths next year. He estimated traffic is down about a third.

Contact reporter Laura Carroll at lcarroll@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4588. Follow @lscvegas on Twitter.

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