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Backer’s 2010 Christmas Show Attendance Remains Stable
Posted: November 8, 2010, 7:10 p.m., EDT

Backer’s 2010 Christmas Show Attendance Remains StableAttendance at H.H. Backer’s 44th Annual Pet Industry Christmas Trade Show and Educational Conference, held Oct. 8 to 10 in Rosemont, Ill., remained relatively stable compared to the previous year.

The 2010 event attracted 8,794 registered buyers from 2,571 firms and 733 exhibitors, including 152 first-timer exhibitors, according to organizers. Last year’s show drew more than 8,800 registered buyers from close to 2,600 firms and 728 exhibitors, including 144 first-timers.

“We saw more new products at this show than ever before, and our new exhibitor count was our highest since 2005,” said Collette Fairchild, trade show director. “Exhibitors offered a much better variety of ‘at the show’ specials, which helped spur order writing. We also tried to add a little more fun with the introduction of our new Best Dressed Dog Contest, which was a big hit with attendees.”

In addition to the Best Dressed Dog Contest, which drew 42 participants, the New Exhibitor Area and Club Platinum made their debut at this year’s show. The New Exhibitor Area featured first-time Backer Christmas show exhibitors. Club Platinum, a lounge on the show floor, was reserved for longstanding Backer exhibitors and attendees, as well as top advertisers for Backer’s Pet Age magazine.

Retailers voted for the top pet products featured in the Product Showcase. The gold medal was awarded to the Cat Power Tower Co. of Oshkosh, Wis., for its Cat Power Tower. The silver medal went to HandicappedPets.com of Nashua, N.H., for its Walkin’ Wheels Mini-Dog Wheelchair. The bronze medal winner went to the Thundershirt Co. of Durham, N.C., for its Thundershirt.

Qualified buyers had a chance to win up to $10,000 in cash and prizes in Backer’s Treasure Hunt Contest, sponsored by Coastal K-9 Bakery Inc., Doggles, Dr. Rose’s Remedies, Halo Purely for Pets, John Ritzenthaler Co., Paws Aboard LLC, Premier Pet Products, Radio Systems Corp., Royal Canin USA, Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, Soft Lines Inc., Sojos, shakeTrainer and Thundershirt Co. Ashley Barnholtz of Ms. Pawsha’s in Waterloo, Iowa, and Mary Heffner of Mary’s Lodge in German Valley, Ill., each won $2,500. Lauren Knight of Simply Exotic Pet Supply in Crystal Lake, Ill., won the $5,000 grand prize.

The movie-themed all-industry party held Saturday night featured costume and dance contests, with nearly $1,000 in cash prizes awarded. For the costume contest, the $500 grand prize went to Laura Ferguson, Julie Short and Caitlan Short, from Tank’s To You in Mooresville, Ind. They dressed like snacks from the movie theater lobby.

More than $20,000 in cash, travel packages and trophies was awarded in the annual Celebration of Style grooming competition. Competition sponsors included Andis Co., Coastal Pet Products, ConairPro Pet, Electric Cleaner Co. Inc., Governor Insurance, H.H. Backer Associates Inc. and Lambert Kay.

Jennifer Lee of Pooch’s Choice in Philadelphia and Ashley Waters of Jimminy Clippers in Palatine, Ill., won Best All-Around Groomer and Best Groomed Dog in their respective divisions.

The next Christmas show is scheduled for Oct. 14 to 16, 2011, at the same location. Backer’s 23rd Annual Pet Industry Spring Show is scheduled for April 13 to 15, 2011, in its new location of Atlantic City, N.J. <HOME>

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