Prizes for its customers and the backdrop of Charlottetown's waterfront community created much of the excitement surrounding this year's 12th annual Mermaid Marine Products Trade Show. Held at the Prince Edward Island Convention Centre and Delta Prince Edward hotel in late October, the show attracted 250 people according to organizers.
"The show was great and we had an excellent turnout,' says Patrick Villeneuve, President of Marine Marine Products. "We were up again in sales this year to where we expect to be. With the new dealers coming up to the show for the first time, we ended up very pleased with our numbers. So far we're on track. Also, the new convention centre was an excellent location; it was right downtown on the waterfront. It was a cozier setting than other places.'
Since this year also marks Mermaid's 40th anniversary, the distributor decided to hold its show in Charlottetown, PEI after spending the 11 previous years hosting the event in Moncton, New Brunswick. "It was a busy day because it's a one-day show,' says Villeneuve. "We showed new products that are in our catalogue for 2014.
Kevin Nodding, Co-owner of The Nodding Group in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, says he has attended several different distributor events. This year he was able to attend Mermaid's show. "It was a nice facility and it was laid out well,' says Nodding. "It was kind of nice to go to Charlottetown for a change. They [Mermaid Marine] certainly bend over backwards to make you feel comfortable and do whatever they can to help you out. They had a pretty good show this year.'
Each year, Mermaid creates a show theme to add an element of fun for attendees. This year's theme was Experience the Island. "Everything throughout the day was essentially stuff from PEI,' says Villeneuve. "The food, the beer and wine served at the show were all local. The evening reception had a beach party theme. The suppliers and our staff were in costume and had a great time.'
This year, Mermaid held a grand prize draw, offering the winning customer a choice of a Harley Davidson motorcycle, camper trailer or Ford Focus. Kelly Laflamme of KNS Marine in New Brunswick was the winner this year. "We drew six names, and whoever picked the right key to start the motorcycle won,' says Villeneuve. "Kelly chose the Harley Davidson.'
Prior to and after the show this year, Mermaid took some visiting customers on tours of its recently updated 21,000 square-foot facility, which it renovated in 2012. "It enabled us to show our clients the changes we made since our expansion last fall,' says Villeneuve. "It was a first-time visit for many of our suppliers and dealers and they enjoyed it.'
Next year's Mermaid Marine Dealer Trade Show is tentatively set to take place on October 17.