For the first time, the trade show has created the Kids Shoe Box, where more than 110 lines will display their wares in a separate ballroom, between the main conference hall and the designer suites.
“That’s been one of the most exciting things [about this show]. That category has grown so much,” said Laura Conwell-O’Brien, executive director of the Southeastern Shoe Travelers, which organizes the event. “Years ago, I had a vision of doing a kids’ area. All the retailers who know about it are very excited to have their own space.”
The Atlanta Shoe Market also has added another 12 percent of exhibition space in the Cobb Galleria, in addition to the children’s space.
Outside the show floor, the event will again offer a “Color and Trend” breakfast seminar, hosted by Ellen Campuzano on Feb. 20, and later that day, the Southeastern Independent Retailers will hold its regular meeting.
Overall, Conwell-O’Brien said she expects between 3,500 and 4,000 retailers to attend, from more than 33 states, as well as the Caribbean. “That’s been one of the big growth areas,” she said. “Retailers from the islands don’t want to go all the way to the West Coast [to place their orders].”
Brand participation at the trade show has increased 4 percent this season, with 725 brands exhibiting.
Sebago is one brand upping its presence and plans to send four sales reps and members of management, according to Simon Velasquez, U.S. key accounts manager for the brand.
“I love that even though the show is becoming bigger, it still has a ‘small’ show feel, where you really talk to many retailers and get very good feedback,” he said.