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IBEX 2010: New MAATS gets good reviews

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Exhibitors at the new MAATS Aftermarket Pavilion at IBEX were generally pleased with their early show results on Tuesday, the first day of the International BoatBuilders' Exhibition & Conference.

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The pavilion, with 72 exhibitors, was added to IBEX after the demise last year of MAATS as a stand-alone show.

"To improve the efficiency of marine trade shows, the scope of IBEX needed to change," show co-director Carl Cramer previously told Soundings Trade Only, which is sponsoring the pavilion. "One trade event for OEM and aftermarket parts and accessories will create a more productive environment, reduce exhibitor costs and time and attract a broader base of attendees."

Exhibitors who spoke Tuesday afternoon with Trade Only generally thought the show was going well, although at least one was disappointed that she hadn't seen any distributors - a highlight of the former stand-alone MAATS show.

Carmen Rivas, president/owner of Bearing Buddy, said that although the pavilion "looks good," she was hoping to meet with distributors, as she had at MAATS, but none seemed to be around. She also noted that she had seen fewer international visitors than at other shows.

David Suaya, of Fuel Medics, which "turns old fuel into new," said the pavilion was "excellent."

"The show has been pretty good. We're getting a lot of good contacts," he said Tuesday afternoon, adding that he likes the addition of the MAATS component to IBEX.

And although Miami-based Suaya would have preferred to stay in South Beach, he said it was less expensive to do business at the new Louisville location.

"It's been good. It's been a lot busier than I thought it was going to be," said Gabriele Allan Isham, sales manager for Orlando, Fla.-based NorCross Marine Products, which makes products under the HawkEye, NorChill and iClear brand names.

Isham said he thought the move to Louisville from South Florida was a "positive thing for attendance. It's much easier for everybody to get here."

He also said it was a good idea to combine the shows and said he'd like to see that expand in the future with more participation from retailers and distributors.

Being a part of the MAATS pavilion has "turned out really well," he said. He likes that it's an open area and not closed away and secluded from the rest of the show.

"[Attendees] may walk into a product they might not normally see," he said.

IBEX, and the MAATS Aftermarket Pavilion, run through Thursday at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

— Beth Rosenberg

b.rosenberg@tradeonlytoday.com

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