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LAS VEGAS — With a more complex tobacco industry comes the need for a more robust tobacco industry trade show, one that is geared for these times that find convenience stores continuing to evolve beyond cigarettes — into vapor, premium cigars, and even alternative smoking accessories.
Encompassing tobacco, plus vapor, plus the growing market for tobacco and alternative accessories, TPE 2017 is still touted as the leading business-to-business total tobacco trade show, but its identity does not end there. This up-and-coming TPE — to be purposefully held with the start of the New Year, Jan. 25-26, at the Las Vegas Convention Center — will come out reinvented and relevant.
“We have grown, adapted and are ready to deliver a value-added business experience of the times for tobacco suppliers, buyers and other industry participants,” said Jason Carignan, chief marketing officer at Moorpark, Calif.-based Kretek International Inc., parent company of the trade show. “TPE 2017 is planning to deliver the industry’s most compelling content yet.”
The expanded business experience will include:
Comprehensive Conference & NATO Guidance
TPE 2017 is being expanded compared to previous years to now include a comprehensive conference agenda each day of the show, offering a learning platform and idea exchange for the industry.
Thomas Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) and TPE Advisory Board member, will present two educational seminars geared toward helping independent retailers (including independent c-stores, which make up a large part of NATO members) learn about current local, state and federal legislation and regulation and how to become engaged and respond to these threats. Briant has also helped guide the other session content to better prepare retailers and manufacturers for the challenging regulatory path ahead.
“Now that NATO recently elected to focus its efforts primarily on fighting local anti-tobacco initiatives, TPE is an excellent foundation to communicate our message to the thousands of retailers that come to the show,” Briant stated. “Together, we can prepare them with the tools and techniques necessary to succeed and thrive in this new tobacco era.”
Other conference highlights will include a “State of the Industry” overview with Wells Fargo’s Bonnie Herzog and Balvor’s David Bishop; and a panel discussion regarding “How to Succeed in a Changing Market led by Smoker Friendly’s Terry Gallagher. This panel is intended to show retailers the way forward amidst new regulation, new product categories, and new competition.
This year’s TPE educational content also drills down to concurrent sessions held both days — some focusing on specific tobacco segments such as other tobacco products (OTP), vapor and alternatives. There is also a convenience store-specific session entitled “Tobacco Category: Still the Key to C-Store Profits,” led by Don Longo, editorial director of Convenience Store News.
Finally, the conference track includes a celebrity speaker who is no stranger to the tobacco and tobacco alternative world: Tommy Chong, author, activist and actor.
Smart, Segmented Show Layout
Immediately apparent on the TPE 2017 expo floor will be the “four-shows-in-one” redesigned and segmented layout, including:
- Tobacco Turnpike (hundreds of booths showcasing tobacco products, including premium cigars, roll-your-own, smokeless, pipes and pipe tobacco);
- Vapor Vista (the ultimate marketplace for vape shops, lounges and retailers);
- Alternative Alley (the place to find a wide offering of cannabis-related, hookah-related, and other alternative products and accessories); and
- General Merch. Main Street (goes even beyond tobacco, vapor, hookah and alternatives).
Aimed at making the show more accessible and efficient for buyers, the new layout organizes exhibitors by the four aforementioned categories, enabling attendees to easily browse the product categories that most interest them.
The expo floor will additionally house a NATO headquarters, giving show attendees an onsite doorway to possibly take their first steps toward mobilizing and helping to change the laws that will directly affect their businesses in the coming year.
There will also be plenty of opportunities to discover innovative new products — including experiential lounges on the show floor offering sampling, testing, new product demos, and forums for idea-sharing.
Information on new products being launched at the show will be distributed to attendees, both prior to and during TPE 2017, to maximize exposure.
Online Platform & More
A new online show platform will enable buyers in attendance to locate companies and products on the show floor and manage their schedules. After the show, the website will remain online, giving them year-round access to information on the products and services they saw exhibited.
And what would a show in Las Vegas be without the chance to win big. TPE’s Retailer Raffle will entice buyers to “play their cards right” for a chance to win $3,000 in a drawing to be held the second day of the show on the exhibit floor in the afternoon.
Overall, these new show innovations “will deliver exactly what our attendees need in today’s changing environment: to encounter new products, explore emerging trends, and network with one another,” said Carignan. “From dates selected to coincide with those preferred by buyers, to a show floor designed for easy navigation, every aspect of TPE will connect buyers with the products, services and resources they need to grow their businesses.”
These enhancements underscore TPE’s commitment to delivering a great experience to all attendees and exhibitors, added Mark Cassar, CEO of Kretek International. “TPE continues to grow year over year by embracing the continual evolution that characterizes virtually every category in this industry — from premium cigars and tobacco to e-cigarette and vapor products.”
For more information about attending or exhibiting at the show, as well as ongoing updates, visit tobaccoplusexpo.com.