SPREE 2014 Gets Off to a Roaring StartPress Release
Las Vegas – The Specialty Retail Entrepreneur Expo had much to celebrate as it kicked off to a roaring start. More than 2,000 attendees and 250 exhibitor booths were expected to be part of the special tenth-anniversary edition of SPREE, which is also celebrating its acquisition by ICSC and its expansion into new global markets. Among the hundreds of exhibitors delivering innovative concepts and solutions to retailers were Heather Allen of Heather Allen Concepts delivering low-cost, visual merchandising tools to specialty retailers; Juan Murdoch with Smart PJs, kids’ pyjamas with a tech twist; and Innovative Foto which merges the fun of Instagram with the gratification of having printed photos for keeps. Industry veterans such as Street Talk, SPREE’s premier sponsor, also delivered additions to tried-and-tested concepts. President and co-owner David Ferber was excited to be introducing the latest proprietary product called “ShatterGuardz” which is an indestructible screen protector for cellphones and tablets. “SPREE has been the most important tradeshow for our company for several years,” Ferber said, “We feel by being the Premier sponsor it puts our company in the spotlight and lets our industry know we are here to do business.” David Bazzoni, President of IDNA Brands, whose products include Sportula, an extensive line of licensed grilling tools and equipment, was looking to also expand his Rolodex at SPREE, which he considers the most important tradeshow of the year. “Sponsoring SPREE shows our long-term commitment to the industry,” Bazzoni said. “Each year at SPREE, we relish the opportunity to meet with new and existing operators, leasing agents, and other businesses within our industry. This year, our team will be showcasing two amazing concepts: Sportula Products & Signature Prints. Shortly after SPREE we will be unveiling our third concept that been successfully trialed in a test mall in the Midwest.” Mall developers such as CBL & Associates and Urban Retail Properties were delighted to be busy with all-day meetings and shopping for new ideas to bring home to their centers. “CBL has enjoyed our partnership with SPREE since its inception,” said Heidi Cardall, Sr. Director – Specialty Leasing for CBL & Associates. “We are proud to be affiliated with an organization that brings tremendous exposure and traffic to the specialty retail industry. The Executive Sponsorship gives CBL a prominence before, during and after the show, allowing us great exposure with existing and new retailers alike,” Cardall added. “SPREE gets better and better each year,” said Karen Larson, Director of Specialty Leasing at Urban Retail Properties. “The contacts made and networking opportunities are invaluable. In addition, the educational component that is offered for leasing professionals through Summit has proven to be an outstanding resource for our team.” Earlier in the day, leasing managers who qualified for the Specialty Leasing Designation graduated after the Specialty Leasing Summit wrapped up.
In her anniversary toast at a special gala that was sponsored by JLL, Patricia Norins, Vice President of Specialty Retail for ICSC and publisher of Specialty Retail Report, thanked the many attendees who have helped SPREE grow over the years to its current status as industry leader. “We look forward to many more years together,” she said. This sentiment was echoed by Debbie Lahti, tradeshow director. “Attendees are thrilled to see that SPREE is expanding globally in 2014 and will continue to show the newest products and bring the industry players together for years to come,” she said. The evening’s event also honored the Specialty Retail Hall of Fame inductees: Trey Peckenpaugh, Outstanding Specialty Leasing Director of the Year; Sal Babbino and Marc Behar of NYS Collection as Outstanding Specialty Retailers of the Year; and Davida Bates, of La Palmera in Corpus Christi, Texas, as Outstanding Specialty Leasing Manager of the Year. Read the summer issue of Specialty Retail Report for complete show coverage and to learn of exciting new product concepts. For more about SPREE and the global expansion — including SPREE Canada to be held September 22-24 in Toronto, and SPREE Europe — please call (781) 709-2411 or visit spreeshow.com.