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After attending the recent International Franchise Expo at The Javits Center in New York City I found it a definite improvement over the long- running IFE in Washington,D.C. There was more traffic and the number of exhibitors was higher.I didn't attend on Sunday, but several of my former clients told me the attendance and quality of prospects was very good. Joel Goldstein, Group Marketing Director of MFV Expo told me that there were 14,313 total visitors and 334 exhibitors at IFE. In my opinion re-locating the IFE to New York was the right decision.
During the same time the IFE was being held in New York the Brazilian Franchise Association (ABF) held its Franchise Expo in San Paulo. Touted as the largest franchise show in the world the ABF Expo had 61,000 attendees with 400 exhibitors (interestingly, attorneys are not allowed to exhibit).
One aspect of the IFE, which differs considerably from the ABF Expo in Brazil, is the number of seminars, which the Brazilian show calls courses. The majority of seminars at the IFE were directed to franchisors rather than prospective franchisees. In comparison, the ABF had far fewer seminars and all were for prospective franchisees. Far be it for me to suggest how to operate a franchise show, however, seminars at a franchise show with content for franchisors doesn't make sense to me. Also,most suppliers were in a separate section. I think suppliers, especially those that publish franchise directories, offer financing and provide services for individuals considering a franchise opportunity, should be in the same area as franchise exhibitors.
The IFE in its New York location should be able to double the number of exhibitors and attendees over the next few years, however, if the presentation format remains the same reaching that goal may be difficult.