Saturday, February 4, 2012

Craig’s Crossing - Orlando Notes

Orlando is always fast-moving and it is difficult to focus on specifics as there are approximately 1100 exhibitors hosting a projected 40,000 PGA professionals, retailers and industry leaders. It is Mecca for the industry and interesting this year in particular for its array of new products, ideas and services. Obviously FootJoy and AddidasPeter Millar and Fairway and Greene  had a huge impact and Demo day always produces incredible buzz. I always look for the details others may have missed when I come home to write a recap.

Here are a few of my topics of note, some of which I will be expanding on in coming weeks.

  • Barrington (Gifts of Distinction) has an e-commerce concept and program which I will be talking about in detail shortly. They also have a convincing “social responsibility “story that is worth becoming familiar with. Wes Boyd is the contact and an engaging conversation.

  •            Ralph Dunning Sportswear had Jimmy Glass (National Sales Manager) giving presentations that could sub as product knowledge seminars which I talk about often as necessary educational stratagems for golf shop staffs. I asked Ralph to video this excellent presentation and allow me to post it here so as to create a forum for this much needed retail tool.

  •            John Ashworth’s Innosoft cotton jersey is a true luxury leisure fabrication that will give Linksoul incredible potential going forward and as always John’s mantra is “more a philosophy than a brand” which makes for intriguing marketing. More from John later also.

  •            EzLocator is innovative software from Jon Shultz that scientifically helps maximize the placement of pins on the green. I met Jon quite accidentally in the bar at the Peabody and was wowed by his passion for his service. We will be interviewing him shortly and give him a chance to tell this fascinating story.

  •            Debbie Forest from the east coast of Florida and one of the best reps in the country when it comes to helping shops understand their ladies' business took me to meet the principles at the GGblue booth. I was impressed with the product and hopefully we will be taking a harder look at both this line and merchandising to women in general going forward.

  •            There are so many new shoe styles and brands that it would be impossible to mention them all but they ranged from MartinDingman’s handsome leather traditional to Dawgs molded plastic touted as the lightest weight shoe in the industry.  I was thrilled to finally be able to meet  Mr. Dingman. Steve Mann and Greg Stafford of Dawgs launched what they explained to me was the lightest weight golf grip on the market. Allen Edmonds Golf shoes are outstanding also. The Double Eagle is picture here.

  •            Charlie Burgwyn of Eritage had a booth for his new vintage headcovers. The company is called Stitch and the product is made in the USA. Charlie explained to me over coffee just before the doors opened on Thursday the design concepts and how he ended up making it in the states. I circled back many times wanting to take a closer look and hear the rest of the story and could not get close to the booth.

  •            I ran into an old friend Roger Mack (Universal Golf tournaments) at the David O’Keefe Art booth and met Wayne Curtis (managing partner) who describes their incredible pieces as PoP culture icons, probably the best known of which is the Bill Murray Caddyshack pic. Roger and I were blown away by the unique pieces in the booth. 

  •            Bauer International always has an incredible show presence as they have unique fixtures  of the highest quality and they are clearly the leaders when it comes to helping your shop and locker room create the image and ambiance that your facility is attempting to project. We will be interviewing Ken Bauer very soon and he is incredibly good conversation.

  •             Pukka’s “design your own hats party” concept is a terrific opportunity for your staff to better understand not only how to talk about headwear but to buy in to the inventory they helped design. Pretty cool concept that we will be discussing further with John Bond in the future.

The show has been criticized for being too long and now we start tearing down booths at noon on Saturday. I, for one, hate to see it go – I could hang out longer- It’s like ripping down Mardi Gras for me.
I would be remiss in not congratulating Greg Norman on their wonderful party at the Peabody on Friday evening. It was intimate enough that you could catch up with old friends and actually hear what they were saying. I don’t need a rock concert in the middle of my Mardi Gras.