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NEW YORK CITY— The debut of the International Franchise Expo in New York saw a record 14,313 visitors and 330 exhibitors, according to the organizer MFV Expositions. The expo moved this year from its twenty year home in Washington, D.C. It saw more than 100 first time exhibitors attracted to the new location in New York City, according to the organizer.
Many veteran IFE franchisors claimed they saw more foot traffic by noon on the first day than they did over the course of the entire weekend during last year's event. The exhibition ran from Friday, June 15 through Sunday, Father's Day.
According to organizer MFV, sellers of franchises were happy with the moved exhibition. "Initially, we were concerned about the 2012 IFE – we had set our goals and expectations rather high," said Tom Portesy, President and CEO of MFV Expositions. "A few weeks prior to the expo, our confidence soared – the reaction to the IFE coming to New York City was everything we hoped for and then some. In our twenty five years of producing franchise events, regardless of success, this is the first expo where every single exhibitor was delighted with the results. It was an extraordinary weekend for franchising, the International Franchise Association and MFV Expositions."
New York-based franchise consultant and author of The Franchise Buyers Manual, Ed Teixeira, points out how U.S. show attendance pales in comparison to China's or Brazil's. The Brazilian show saw four times more visitors than the franchise expo in New York, the largest in the United States. He thinks the show can be improved. In an earlier column on Blue MauMau, Teixeira wrote about the expo: "The majority of seminars at the IFE were directed to franchisors rather than prospective franchisees." He continued, "Seminars at a franchise show with content for franchisors doesn't make sense to me." Teixeira has presented seminars in the past for franchise investors at the IFE.
Fox Business, Business News Daily, CNBC, CNNMoney, Entrepreneur, Wall Street Journal, and WPIX-TV were some news media that featured the event. MFV Expositions ramped up marketing efforts with billboards and media buys with publications Money, TIME and Fortune to increase awareness of the newly moved franchise expo.
"The IFE was a huge success for us this year," said John Twist, Vice President of franchise and business development for Batteries Plus. "We were able to connect with multiple candidates who own cell phone stores, hardware stores and restaurants all looking for the next lucrative opportunity to invest in. For most people, the show was their first exposure to our brand and concept, and the reception was extremely positive. We walked away with some solid leads that will most definitely translate into sales."