The trade show organization’s board of directors voted to call off the June 1-5 edition. Instead, it will focus on its next market week, set for Aug. 3-7.
“What it came down to is the disruption in business. Many of our retailers are closing their stores and laying off people. Workers are being furloughed from wholesale companies. The thought of having an organized event doesn’t seem prudent or feasible. By canceling now, it allows all of our members to plan for rebuilding or recovery on their own terms,” said John Heron, executive director of FFANY.
The move came after much discussion. Initially, the conversation centered around whether factories would be able to produce samples in time for the June market. The supply chain was paralyzed for weeks as the coronavirus crisis accelerated in China. But by the time the Asian market was beginning to show signs of recovery, the U.S. situation significantly worsened.
Additionally, it became unclear whether the U.S. government would allow large gatherings such as trade shows. Now, of course, the coronavirus has hit every corner of the business hard, with all companies facing unprecedented challenges that will permanently alter the business.
Heron and the FFANY board are focusing on the summer opportunity.
“We want to turn all of our attention and energy to having a robust August market,” he said. “I think there’s going to be a pent-up demand to not only engage in commerce and business decisions, but to come together as an industry and heal together. Footwear is a tight and inclusive community.”