Tucson Best Bead Show Recap9:00 AM
Have you ever been to Tucson for the Gem & Mineral shows? It is CRAZY! Thousands of people descend on this small desert city. All of the hotels along the freeway are turned into mini malls full of gems, minerals, handmade materials, jewelry, supplies and best of all...BEADS! Lots and lots of beads. Small beads. Big beads. Red beads. Blue beads. Every kind of bead you can think of..... In the hotel rooms, sellers flip up beds or remove them entirely and turn each room into it's own little shop. These are only the smaller shows. The bigger shows put up HUGE tents filled with vendors waiting and willing to sell you just about anything jewelry related that your heart may desire. I believe that there were 41 shows (small and large) listed in the Colored Stone Show Guide this year. 41! There are shuttles that take buyers from one show to another. This really helps in cutting down on parking and walking time. It is actually much easier to get around than one would think upon first inspection.
Whenever I think of Tucson, I think of my many years spent at the G&LW show at the Rodeway Inn (now Grant Inn). It is one of the longer shows in Tucson, if not the longest. I was there every single day for almost 2 weeks, year after year. If I did a 360 degree spin in our booth, I was surrounded by people from Afghanistan, Africa, China, Russia and India. It was truly a melting pot. We haven't done that show in years, so I stopped in and visited with my friends this year. It looked almost exactly the same. One of the neatest things about the Tucson gathering is that it brings together people from around the world.
One missing component this year was Mike and Scott, Soft Flex Company owners. They are at the Spring Fair 2010 in NEC Birmingham UK. Although they were terribly missed here stateside, I'm sure that they are busily leaving a lasting impression on the UK bead market.
All in all, we are running full speed ahead into 2010. I think that this year has all of the promise of being a very successful year. If you have never been to the Tucson shows. Go next year! I promise that you will not be disappointed. You don't have to be a business owner to enjoy yourself. There are plenty of retail friendly spots as well as wholesale only.