LAS VEGAS, NV — Some 150 companies and organizations are exhibiting this week at RECon for the first time, helping to fill the Las Vegas Convention Center with roughly 1,265 exhibitors for this year’s trade show. This is up significantly from last year’s booth count of 1,145, says Timothy McGuinness, ICSC’s vice president of global trade expositions.
CBRE announced Monday at RECon that it has ascended to #207 position on the 2018 list of the largest U.S.-based public companies. The company has been a member of the Fortune 500 since 2008 and was ranked at #214 last year.
Companies and municipalities see RECon as being critical to their economic health: Nearly 50 municipalities have claimed booths at RECon 2018. Although public-agency attendance has fluctuated, the demand for exhibit space over the past few years has remained high, says Timothy McGuinness, ICSC’s vice president of global trade expositions.
The city of Moreno Valley, in California’s fast-growing Inland Empire region, is returning to RECon in an effort to bolster its retail offerings. This 33-year-old city with a population of 210,000 is transitioning from a bedroom community to one that is enjoying brisk rooftop and business expansion, says Mike Lee, director of Moreno Valley’s Economic Development Department. The city’s population is growing by about 5 percent annually, and restaurants in particular are zeroing in: 15 new operators opened last year, and about 20 more are in the pipeline, according to Lee.
“When you consider how tight budgets are for municipalities, counties and states, it indicates that these organizations see great value in participating at RECon,” he said. “They are looking for ways to drive their economies, and retail is one way to do that.”
Some of the new company exhibitors this year include Gold’s Gym, Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, Murphy USA and others.
Eatery chain Hurricane Grill & Wings decided to rent its first RECon booth this year to promote a fast-casual concept called Hurricane BTW (which stands for burgers, tacos and wings). The company seeks leasing opportunities for the new units, which occupy about 2,000-square-feet, and for the Hurricane Grill & Wings restaurants, which range from 2,000 to 6,000-square-feet.
Retailer teams from several brands that share a booth under parent company Ascena Retail Group — namely Ann Taylor, Catherines, Dress Barn, Justice, Lane Bryant, Loft, Lou & Grey and Maurices — have registered in the RECon directory as individual exhibitors for the first time this year.
Fayetteville, Ark., is exhibiting at RECon for the first time this year to boost the visibility of this college town of 83,000. Fayetteville’s young population, Ozark Mountains setting and entrepreneurial small-business climate are catching site consultants by surprise, as are neighborhoods that are either witnessing retail growth or else primed for development, says Devin Howland, director of the city’s one-year-old Economic Vitality Department.
“Retail plays a big part in building a sense of place,” Howland said, “and there’s no better place than RECon to connect with developers who you think have done admirable work in other parts of the country.”
“We’re expanding — we need to be in the show!” seems to be the common theme of exhibitors and attendees this year.