The fortieth year of the Gem and Lapidary Wholesale tradeshow is well underway with several shows already under their belt. From North Carolina to Florida, the show is moving to Arizona next in February for its largest show of the year, then to three different locations in April: Minnesota, Michigan and Massachusetts.
The Gem and Lapidary Wholesale show is a business-to-business event that enables storeowners to attend and buy inventory at wholesale prices to sell to the general public.
“The company was started in 1974 by my father Bob Schabilion, back when there were no tradeshows and things were sold to you by traveling salesmen,” said Candice McNamara, president of Gem and Lap. “It just started with a small group of twelve wholesalers who took the show from town to town and then it just grew from there.”
The Tucson show, which will take place from January 31 to February 8, is where it all started forty years ago. Now in 2015, major changes are coming upon it as the Gem and Lap show is combining their two largest shows, the Gem Mall and the Holidome, into one.
“Both start on the same day which has not happened in the past,” said McNamara. “Generally we see a registration of about 66,000 people for the February show. We are not open to the general public so all of these people are actually store owners or in the business somehow.”
Although Tucson has proven to be a much larger show, Felicia Crigler,Publications Manager for Gem and Lap, ensures that no matter which show you attend, whether it be the big Tucson show or the smaller North Carolina show, you will get the same experience.
“Even though the shows range in size, the amount of exhibitors and the amount of buyers that come in, deep down they are the same. They are wholesale only, made to go in and buy at bulk, so it is almost indistinguishable if you attend Spruce Pine that has 15 exhibitors or you go to Tucson that has 700 exhibitors,” said Crigler. “Our buyers are confident in knowing, regardless of the show they attend, they are receiving the same type of merchandise available in the same quantities.”
The smaller shows will take place from April 12 to 13 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 17 to 19 in Livonia, Michigan, and April 24 to 25 in West Springfield, Massachusetts. These shows are all regional, drawing crowds from those particular states and surrounding areas, whereas Tucson is a worldwide international show bringing in buyers from everywhere.
The Gem and Lapidary show will feature exhibitors that are both new and returning, some who have been with the company for all forty years. Everything from bead dealers, fine jewelry dealers, diamond dealers and even fashion jewelry will be a part of the wholesale show.
Before going to the show, make sure to keep these tips from Candice and Felicia in mind: “wear comfortable walking shoes, have the proper documentation to prove you belong at the show, plan on spending at least a day or two there, and enjoy the food!”
For a full list of upcoming shows and information from the Gem and Lapidary Wholesale visit their website at www.glwshows.com or call (601) 879-8832.