2020 EWPT Expo – Inside the Juggling Act
By now, you are all aware that the 2020 EWPT Expo has been canceled. Galant attempts to reschedule the show hit too many road blocks. EPI Shows, along with their partners at the Wisconsin Center we’re forced to cancel.
A great deal goes into planning this show. If you’ve attended, you have witnessed the hard work of Jay Partington and Cheryl Luck of EPI Shows. I joke with them that they each have a twin, because they seem to be in two places at the same time. The quality of the show certainly bears witness to their diligence.
Having been involved in some of the discussions that were held surrounding the cancellation, and attempted rescheduling of the 2020 show, I wanted everyone to know just how hard Jay and Cheryl worked over the past couple of months. I bugged Jay until he relented to speak with me about all the hoops they had to jump through.
“Like everyone else, we thought it would be over by May. But by late February, we started getting some input from our larger exhibitors and attendees from Europe that we ought to think about postponing,” Jay began. By early March they were caught between two disparate views. “Cheryl and I were in contact with many exhibitors. Some were emphatic the show go on, and others were wondering how we could even think about going forward with it.”
Making the decision even more treacherous was the fact that this years show was tracking to be one of the best ever. “We had already spent over $100,000 in advertising, and our preregistrations in February were the highest they’ve ever been in the 20 years of the show – almost double!” Exhibit sales were also way up from 2019, and the hotels had been calling Jay to inform him they had hit the block reserve, and asking if he wanted to add rooms.
As daily discussions were going on between the Wisconsin Center, exhibitors and sponsors, Jay was also reaching out to some of his peers. Having been in event management for 38 years, he knows a lot of folks who run shows or manage associations. Many were saying they’d had shows in early March where attendance was very low.
The picture began to get more bleak by the day. A March 15 meeting with Jay, Cheryl and the Wisconsin Center yielded a decision to postpone the show. “We were looking at September 23 & 24 but would have to move some [smaller] shows around, and also coordinate with exhibitors, contractors and hotels,” Jay explained.
But the Ryder Cup had booked up the rooms for that time period. Since those dates wouldn’t work, they had to look at other possibilities. “We spent days with the Wisconsin Center to determine dates for our show, and there just weren’t a lot of them.” Many of the March/April shows had rescheduled for the September/October time frame.
They finally ended up with August 19 & 20. There are a number of festivals going on in Milwaukee during that time of year. The hotels would be busy, but it was doable. Jay and Cheryl were having a bit of difficulty getting enthusiasm from exhibitors for those dates, but they continued to rally. “Then the Democratic Convention decided to take those dates, and that was it.” Jay lamented. “And we really couldn’t go past September, because how could you put on a show, then immediately ask folks for a deposit for May 2021?.” And thus, on April 6th the decision was made to cancel, and concentrate on the 2021 show.
From all of us here at Wiring Harness News, we would like to express our deep appreciation to Jay, Cheryl and everyone at EPI Shows for their tireless efforts throughout this ordeal. When you see them next year, please take the opportunity to thank them. Their efforts often go unnoticed, but they are key in making the EWPT Expo the success it has been for 20 years.