Midwest Market Days has a novel solution to the problem of traveling salespeople and limited product selection: bring the customers to them.
The company operates a series of 7 smaller tradeshows in the Chicago area every year, where about 50 vendors gather to pitch products to a select group of long-time customers. According to Joanna Kastle, tradeshow manager, everything about the Midwest Market Days philosophy is designed to make it easy on buyers. The company sets up shuttles, reserves hotel room blocks, provides meals, and for a certain select group of vendor-approved buyers will even arrange for travel.
Midwest Market Days is owned by Regent Products, a wholesale company, but there are many vendors beyond Regent Products represented at one of the company’s tradeshows.
“These shows transpired because it was expensive and time-consuming for Regent to send salespeople out on the road with samples,” Kastle said. “Instead, we wanted to take salespeople off the road and bring the buyers to us. Our dates are timed to the buying cycles of our customers, so they can have continuity in ordering and access to our closeouts.”
As a result, the typical Midwest Market Days tradeshow is a no-nonsense, order-writing affair. “We cater to our buyers so their focus can be strictly on writing orders,” Kastle said. “We do not typically have a huge influx of new buyers, but a core group that has formed tight relationships with the vendors and know they can come to our show and keep their shelves stocked.”
A typical Midwest tradeshow includes vendors selling home goods, gifts, general merchandise, apparel, hardware, textiles, accessories, novelties, toys, and other categories. In addition to its existing group of dollar-store buyers, Midwest is actively looking to increase its buying pool to include international customers, online retailers, variety stories, and other general merchandisers.
Midwest Market Days shows are not open to the public, but they are free to attend for retail and wholesale buyers. There are seven shows annually around the O’Hare International Airport area in metropolitan Chicago. A complete show schedule is available on the company website, as well as additional registration and attendee information, including hotel blocks, transportation, and exhibitor information.
Preferred customers can arrange to have travel paid for by Midwest, these buyers must be recommended by current vendors. Midwest Market Days is affiliated with a number of other regional tradeshows, including The Florida General Merchandise Show, Mid-Atlantic Mart, and the Michigan Wholesale Mart.