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Las Vegas – The ninth annual Specialty Retail Entrepreneur Expo, the industry’s much-awaited tradeshow, opened to much enthusiasm at the Sands Expo Center at the Venetian in Las Vegas. 2,500 attendees are expected to attend the three-day event, which brings exciting new concepts to specialty retailers and other industry professionals.

Tradeshow director Debbie Lahti was encouraged by the excitement and said she was looking forward to another rewarding show. Attendees remarked that they loved SPREE’s friendly atmosphere, which encouraged deal making, Lahti said. The fact that the show brought so many regulars back along with new concepts every year was a testament to its wide draw, she added.

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Among the regulars was Shoe MGK, which has been a veteran of the industry. This year, said co-owner Rebecca Wiltshire, the company decided to dial up its presence and revitalized its offerings. A show sponsor, Shoe MGK was looking to break into new markets, Wiltshire added.

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Also breaking into new markets is Street Talk, SPREE’s premiere sponsor. The Italk component of the company along with a dazzling array of products and a standout kiosk gathered much attention at SPREE. President and co-owner David Ferber was looking forward to a productive show, meeting current retailers and making new deals. “We are really looking forward to making some new contacts with both retailers and mall management. It’s a great chance for us to work on new deals and meet face to face with many of our operators that attend the show. It’s also exciting to see new companies and products and what they’re bringing to the industry.”

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MiniMe’s Sharon Yu was one of many vendors bringing something new to SPREE this year. She reported that SPREE was such a huge success for her business last year, that she decided to sponsor the show this year. MiniMe has since seen global expansion. Yu reported that an affiliate decided to test the waters with a new product, Magic Cook. The demo-friendly concept had many watching as a special product made water boil in seconds and heat food.

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Mall developers such as CBL & Associates Properties and GGP spent the first day networking with vendors and retailers alike. CBL’s Jerry Jones was excited to look for new ideas. Among the many new concepts vying for his attention included a complete nail polish kiosk system and Sweet Amanda’s candy bar, a self-serve candy station with retro appeal.

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Earlier in the day, twenty leasing managers who qualified for the Specialty Leasing Designation graduated after the Specialty Leasing Summit wrapped up, bringing the total number of SLD graduates to 150. Cake and champagne marked the celebration hosted by Specialty Retail Report.

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A productive day at the show was capped by a fun evening of networking at the Fashion Show Mall, an event that was sponsored by General Growth Properties. A charity raffle benefiting Camp Soaring Eagle brought in $2500, enough to send five seriously ill children to the camp. There are additional opportunities to support the camp through a silent auction located on the trade show floor.

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Read the summer issue of Specialty Retail Report for complete show coverage and to learn of exciting new product concepts. For more about SPREE, please visit spreeshow.com.

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The second full day of SPREE sustained its excitement and energy from opening day as cart and kiosk operators and other specialty retail industry professionals networked and shopped the show floor for new concepts. Among the many new interesting ... Continue Reading »

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