WESA at the Denver Mart
J&H's Guide to WESA
For The Experts / WESA Veterans
The January Market is almost here. After nearly 30 years in the Expo Hall we are moving on up….. literally. Just in case you have managed to avoid our emails, we are now in a permanent showroom! We are in showroom 4636 immediately across from Montana Silversmith and Stetson on the 4th floor. Make an appointment and we will be prepared with your previous orders and be ready with a few suggestions of other products that will best match your customers.
We will also have coffee, beer, sodas and snacks available throughout WESA. Come by, even if it is just to have a beer and talk about the old days (have you met Ron? This is right in his wheelhouse).
Here are our recommendations for WESA. Have anything we should add? Shoot them to us and we will add them to the list.
For the WESA Rookie
After my first WESA I realized I was in over my head. Even after a few years I still find the first day overwhelming. I recently spent a few hours on Google looking for a guide for buyers and was sorely disappointed. I wanted more details, so here is my attempt to help you enjoy WESA.
· Make appointments
o If there are any exhibitors you really want to see – contact them in advance and make an appointment. That way the exhibitor will have the correct sales rep, and products available. The booths and showrooms are also a little intimidating – appointments solve this problem.
· Stay downtown
o There are a few hotels that are very close to the Mart complex. While these are very convenient for the show, the neighborhood does not provide many other amenities. The hotels downtown are only 15 minutes way from the Mart complex and have more restaurants, bars, and options for post-show activities. Whatever you do, don’t stay in the Denver Tech Center. It is far, far away from the Mart.
o WESA and the exhibitors (like us) provide a free shuttle service to hotels downtown.
o The WESA website has a few recommendations. Here would be a few of our recommendations:
§ Looking for a little Character – The Brown Palace has the most history, and one of the better bars in Ships Tavern. The Oxford Hotel is another hotel that has good history and the Cruise Room was the first bar to reopen after Prohibition. The Oxford is located in the heart of LoDo, and while that is usually wonderful you will probably hear some of the construction noise from the Union Station redevelopment. Of course it is also walking distance to Wynkoop Brewing Company, so if you drink enough you might not hear any noise. The Magnolia Hotel has a bit more of a hip vibe, but manages to blend history and modern relatively well.
§ Value – If you are looking for a good deal check out the Sharaton Denver Downtown Hotel, The Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center, The Westin Denver Downtown (probably the best value for the money), or The Warwick (the Warwick is a little out of the way but should be the cheapest).
Friday – The first day is overwhelming. Here is my recommendation - don’t make too many appointments. Take the tour. There are three buildings of exhibitors. The Mart Building, the Expo Building, and the Pavilion Building. Check out the trends, and determine if there is anyone you would like to add to your appointment list. If you do find an exhibitor that wasn’t on your list, pop your head in and set up an appointment for Saturday, Sunday or Monday.
Friday is also the Fashion Show. I have mixed feelings about the fashion show, it is a cash bar, which has free hor’s de oeuvres. It is well attended and probably something you should see your first year, I am less convinced it is something you need to check out each year. There is one benefit to the fashion show – if you attend the fashion show you will learn who is going to have the best parties, both after the show and on the next couple of nights.
Saturday & Sunday – Time to get some work done. Leave at least 15 minutes between appointments, the buildings are big and getting from one to the next takes a little time. These are the days to do your buying. All the exhibitors will have their best people available and be ready to take your orders. Both days are marathons, make sure to take advantage of all the exhibitors offering water. Remember Denver’s altitude is 5,280 feet, so stay hydrated, or Friday night will catch up to you. Saturday night is another party night. I have been too tired to attend any of these parties on Saturday night but I hear they are great.
Monday and Tuesday – The show slows down a lot on Monday and Tuesday. This is both good and bad. It is a lot easier to navigate, and you won’t fight for attention. Tuesday is also cash and carry day. So if you are trying to take things home, Tuesday is your day.
Other Advice – Lucchese has one of the most popular lunches. If you are a registered buyer it is both free and delicious. The Cinch / Cruel Girl fashion show is one to attend, they provide food and the show is always entertaining. The bar at Stetson is always open and serving cold beer (they are also right across from our booth so when you are done there come have a beer with us). There is a free continental breakfast every morning for buyers. The food is pretty mediocre, but it is free and will give you the energy to make it to lunch.
Most importantly come see us at Johnson & Held. We will help you navigate the maze. Need an introduction to one of the other exhibitors? Can’t get an appointment at Roper? Let us know and we will do our best to help. We will also give you a place to kick up your feet and relax for a few minutes. See you soon.