ECVS PROGRAM TO PUT FOCUS ON SUPERMARKETS

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- A special program targeting supermarkets will be a highlight of the East Coast Video Show here, said Diane Stone, show director at Expocon Management Associates, Fairfield, Conn.Set to run Oct. 7 to 9 at the new Atlantic City Convention Center, ECVS has grown to become the second-largest trade show in the video industry. Last year it attracted 10,216 attendees, with 270 exhibitors.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- A special program targeting supermarkets will be a highlight of the East Coast Video Show here, said Diane Stone, show director at Expocon Management Associates, Fairfield, Conn.

Set to run Oct. 7 to 9 at the new Atlantic City Convention Center, ECVS has grown to become the second-largest trade show in the video industry. Last year it attracted 10,216 attendees, with 270 exhibitors. The largest such industry event, the Video Software Dealers Association show, held last month in Las Vegas, drew an attendance of 12,000.

ECVS has also become much more than a regional trade event. Top studio executives and officials from other key suppliers attend, as do retailers from a wide geographical area.

Among the supermarket chains represented at last year's ECVS were Wegmans Food Markets, Rochester, N.Y.; Wakefern Food Corp.'s ShopRite stores, Elizabeth, N.J.; Price Chopper Supermarkets, Schenectady, N.Y.; Giant Eagle, Pittsburgh; Pathmark Stores, Woodbridge, N.J.; Grand Union Co., Wayne, N.J.; Farm Fresh, Norfolk, Va.; and Genuardi's Family Markets, Norristown, Pa.

"Profiting From Video in a Non-Video Store," a seminar targeting the supermarket trade, takes place Oct. 7. Also on that day is the opening business session, a presentation on video industry market research and the "East Coast Video Show Comedy Break" with Teddy Towne, a comedian.

The non-video-store seminar will be co-moderated by SN and Discount Store News, and will feature retail representatives from the supermarket and discount trades.

"These retailers move an enormous amount of product," said Stone. "If this show is going to reflect the overall industry, this is a component that needs to be offered."

But supermarket video executives, especially those involved in the rental business, will find other seminars at ECVS of value as well, Stone added.

"If they are in rental, they face exactly the same issues and problems that video specialty stores do with regard to personnel hiring, training and interacting with customers," she said. "Those managers can get a lot of knowledge by attending some of the other sessions."

Stone admitted supermarket turnout in past years has consistently disappointed organizers and exhibitors at ECVS. She pointed out, though, that "supermarkets have not turned out in huge numbers for any video industry event."

ECVS is an inexpensive show to attend -- preregistration costs $25 -- and is especially convenient for retailers in the East. This makes it easy for retailers to bring additional personnel, such as store-level department managers, for a crash course in the video industry.

Other seminar topics include "Want Great Staff? Hire Them: How to Get the Most Out of the Interviewing Process," "Advertising and Promotion," "Marketing, Promotions and Merchandising of Kid's Videos" and "Utilize Computer Reports to Their Full Advantage."

A new "chat room" approach to exchanging ideas will replace the old roundtable discussions. There will be five chat room sessions: "Working With Your Distributor," "Unique Stores in Unique Markets," "Advertising and Promotion," "Store Operations: Ready, Aim, Fire!" and an opportunity to chat "With the Studios."

Retailers who carry only sell-through video should not overlook ECVS, Stone emphasized.

"The studios and distributors are the same companies that supply product for rental and sell-through. They will all be there to move product however it is that it is going to get moved, whether by rental or sale, and all that product is going to be on that floor," she said.

Advance registration numbers for this year's ECVS are 25% higher than at this time last year -- especially significant in an industry with a dwindling number of players -- and exhibitors are taking bigger spaces in the state-of-the-art facility, said Stone.

"There's been a significant amount of expansion by existing exhibitors, everyone from the studios to smaller suppliers," she said.

Stone stressed that attendees will find more product, bigger exhibits and ample supplier booth personnel on hand to answer questions. As the show grows and exhibitors bring more salespeople, they have to increase their exhibit space to accommodate everyone.