The Norton Shows are truly family affairs. Located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, The Norton Shows are wholesale cash-and-carry events with a focus on apparel, jewelry, gourmet foods and gifts. The family-run company hosts four shows per year, and the largest is the November 15-17 holiday-themed show. According to co-owner Nikke Norton, the shows take pride in being accessible, entertaining, and very accommodating for smaller businesses. “We’re very available,” Norton says. “We’re always on the show floor, and our show office is open. It’s a very laid-back, casual show that is accommodating to both buyers and vendors.”
When asked what tips she would give a potential buyer, Norton recommends, “Bring a lot of money, wear comfortable shoes, and plan to stay in the area at least overnight. A lot of our buyers just fall in love with Gatlinburg, so you want to spend at least a day here.”
Norton Shows are distinctive for their small touches. For example, Norton says they always feature entertainment, with a roving Elvis impersonator at recent shows. However, the true value of the Norton Shows is in the selection of vendors. Norton is excited to welcome Mangator Designs this November, a maker of fine alligator-skin wallets, duffels and handbags. Other cutting-edge exhibitors have included vendors of freshwater pearls. Overall, Norton says, there’s everything from less expensive items to high-end merchandise, with a strong focus on gifts.
Attendance at Norton Shows is free for qualified buyers who provide a business license or tax certificate. The shows take place in the Gatlinburg Convention Center in downtown Gatlinburg, at the foot of the Smoky Mountains and on the edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Norton hosts two fall shows, in September and November. Visit the company website for information on pre-registration, travel and lodging. The company also hosts two spring/summer shows in March and June.