The nation’s largest gathering of wholesale souvenir, gift and resort suppliers just keeps getting better. Hosted every November at the foot of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies and the Souvenir Super Show, IGES/SSS, will be celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. The show has expanded from its original pavilion into two modern convention centers offering a buying opportunity for souvenir outlets of all sizes, according to show co-owner, Susan Mills.
According to retailers across the spectrum of industries and outlets, consumers are increasingly responsive to the “Made in USA” message. There are many possible explanations for this trend, including fallout from the recession, generational shifts and the changing global economy, which provide opportunities for retailers everywhere.
Safety Technology wants to make security easy. The 28 year-old company describes itself as a, “drop-ship wholesaler of non-lethal self-defense products, hidden cameras, and surveillance systems.” The product lineup includes popular stun guns, pepper spray, custom-made hidden camera units, and security systems ranging from single camera systems to more complex multi-camera systems with DVRs.
Wilcor wants to make the outdoors fun. The company has been operated by the Wilcor family since 1887, and is dedicated to designing, manufacturing, and distributing outdoor recreational products to independent retailers. These include campgrounds, resorts, small chains, independent shops, amusement parks, and wherever people go to have fun, according to VP of Marketing, Dennis Corrigan.
Now is a great time to get into silver, according to Teeda Wholesale. The company sells sterling silver jewelry in 50 states and 40 countries around the world, offering a comprehensive line that includes rings, earrings, chains, bracelets, charms and more. Teeda is a leading wholesaler of sterling silver jewelry, says manager Jack Tejavanija.
Bruce Palmer can remember the exact moment when he knew he had a winning product with his unique sunvisors. “It was 1997, and I had just introduced my sunvisors at a street fair,” Palmer remembers. “The thing that grabbed me was when I looked up and had women five-deep in front of my tent, actually elbowing each other to get to the last few that were left. I had a regular job at the time, but I quit it and jumped into sunvisors with both feet.”
That’s Perfect hair wraps have a slogan for almost every occasion, including, “So Easy A Daddy Can Do It,” and, “Look Like A Braid, Wear Like A Barrette.” CEO, Ron Alsup, says they are the perfect hair wrap. That’s Perfect introduced its line of reusable hair wraps in various sizes and colors in 2007.
According to Inch of Gold, retail success can measured by the inch. Based in West Palm Beach, Fla., Inch of Gold has been a leading wholesaler of fashion gold and silver wholesale jewelry chain since 1982. The company’s niche is do-it-yourself custom gold and silver chains. The products are offered on spools that consumers can touch and feel for themselves, then have measured and cut to their own specifications.
Stockwell Greetings wants to make it easy to run a comprehensive, profitable greeting card department. The company has spent 20 years perfecting its support for retailers of all sizes, to help them design their greeting card section, maintain inventory, and choose cards that match their demographics. “The ideal retailer for Stockwell’s card programs is any retail venue or organization that would like to offer greeting cards as either a valued social expression for its customers, or as an alternative to a gift,” says Howard Goldsmith, Director of Business Development. “By offering greeting cards, the retailer provides a convenience and added value for its customers.”
As competition in retail intensifies, the future of the convenience store bottom line is coming into focus: food. Experts and industry advocates say that after decades of selling packaged foods, candy, and maybe the occasional roller hot dog or nacho tray, convenience stores are rapidly breaking new ground in the food service business. They are adding deli counters, salad bars, and even haute cuisine.