"Who Would Have Thought?"
by Greg Bell, Convention Chairman
At the end of the day, who would have thought we would have had to cut short our annual convention and trade show due to a category four hurricane. In October, no way. Well, it happened. As with every convention and trade show, all the hard work was over and we were ready to kick off our yearly event.
The 2016 FBMA Convention and Trade Show had all the makings of success. We had met our room block weeks in advance. Our exhibitor count was higher that it had been in many years. The number of attendee registrations were the best since 2005. Full steam ahead. Everything was in place and we were ready to go.
Hurricane Matthew pounced on the scene, made a turn to the Northwest and all eyes were focused on him. On that Monday the week of the show, we started receiving phone calls from exhibitors questioning what we were going to do. We had a couple of exhibitors cancel. By and large, most of our exhibitors came to the Gaylord and set up their exhibit space in the hall.
We had 236 registered for our golf outing and on that Wednesday morning we only had 170 show up. Not bad with Matthew bearing down on us. As scheduled, we had our KickOff Reception Wednesday night. We had our convention breakfast on Thursday morning, conducted our annual meeting and considering the looming weather event bearing down us the attendance was o.k. The next two events on our schedule, our industry panel discussion and Hall of Fame luncheon both were completed.
It was obvious during the morning on Thursday that Matthew could possibly make land fall just south of Daytona. The hotel came to us and said they most likely were going to have to close the loading docks on Friday because of high winds. They also said they had another client coming in on Saturday. We at that time decided to have all of our exhibitors start breaking down. The hotel gave us until 9 p.m. to get everyone loaded and on their way.
Usually after the show is over there is not a great deal of work that needs to be done. However, this year we are now going to have to meet with the hotel regarding our 2016 contract due to closing down early and not even opening the trade show. Thankfully, FBMA carries show interruption insurance. We will be spending the next several weeks compiling all of the data required by our insurance carrier so we can file a claim.
I have always known that FBMA is a special organization made up of very good people. I am proud to be part of such a great group of individuals. Our members, the Retail Dealers and Associates, are the best. I can't say enough to our exhibitors for showing up with this crazy category four storm headed right for us. Most everyone showed up and set up their booth. Also to the 170 golfers and all of our dealers that still made their way to our show under the circumstances. FBMA is special group of people and we are like a big family working toward to continue to improve our industry.
I say it all the time. And I will say it again. Thanks to all of you for what you do for FBMA.
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