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An Englishman's appraisal.

An Englishman's Appraisal

IWA, more fully, The Nurnberg International Trade Fair for Hunting and Sporting Arms and Accessories, is one of the great trade fairs of the world. It is held annually at the Nurnberg Messe, a permanent site with nine balls. Hotels to suit all pockets ensure the comfort of participants. To those whose business is also their hobby the show constitutes an Aladdin's Cave.

The series began in 1974 with 114 exhibitors, and this year catered for a approximately 600, with 6250 individual members of the trade present. These seek not only a place in the great new European market, but worldwide trade. The Lord Mayor, Dr. Peter Schoelein, declared that the secret of success lies in the harmonious cooperation between the sponsor organizations and Nurnberg Messe, together with the retention of a clear concept of Trade Fair organization.

IWA is a success story in itself, but readers will be primarily interested to know whether they too could succeed there, and how to set about it.

To answer these questions I sought, and received, the co-operation of four exhibitors to whom I record my grateful thanks. They were: J. Barbour and Sons; a British manufacturer of weatherproof sporting clothing. Hammerli Ltd., a long established Swiss firm of military and target weapon manufacturers, with endless international target triumphs to their credit. FAS, a more recently established Italian firm of target pistol makers, whose innovative designers have brought many medals to their customers, and Parker Hale, British rifle and accessory makers with clients worldwide.

Mr. Jeff Shepherd, the Export Manager of Barbour of South Shields, explained that to achieve most from an IWA exhibit, the stand itself needed careful planning. It reflected the atmosphere of a high class sporting clothing store enabling much of the company's range to be shown, without seeking to over-impress. The last was an important factor when selling a much copied product.

The firm's dedication to country sport involved the presence of correctly researched vintage fishing rods, cartridge magazines etc., in the "window." Though by their quality the goods might sell themselves, this was not left to chance. The potential trade buyer stood in the shoes of his retail customer. With these preparations completed, participation both brought new customers to the brand and gave agents renewed enthusiasm. The European market was a fragmented one, with language difficulties, but now fully covered, and Barbour contemplated expansion in America from its New Hampshire wholesale warehouse. IWA had the attraction of an international atmosphere, and was very helpful to Barbour in European and American business.

Hammerli Ltd., of Lenzburg, Switzerland, was the guest of their German distributor. Here, the stand was far simpler. Mr. Hediger, the Managing Director, told me of the company's association with the exhibition since its foundation in 1974. It had always been a highly successful relationship, which would continue. Although the expense was considerable, it was worthwhile. In Mr. Hediger's view, no big company operating in this world market could afford to be absent. The Chinese were now exhibiting.

First the company's products were publicized, especially new developments. This year a revolutionary new three position Air Rifle and sight were the prime display. Secondly IWA was an excellent forum for business, old and new. Until about four years ago the increase in business had been principally reflected through Hammerli's German agents. More recently increases had become worldwide. As an exhibition IWA was comparable only with the SHOT Show, and it was ever expanding. Hammerli only exhibited in three much smaller Swiss exhibitions.

Gianni Benvenuti, of Milan's Fabrica Armi Sportive (FAS), represented that firm at IWA, sharing a stand. The company's pistols (for I.S.U. Centerfire, Standard, and Rapid Fire disciplines) were on display, but because Sgr. Benvenuti was the company's only representative he was not perpetually present. To him being at IWA was vital for an active company. IWA was a "beautiful opportunity" to do business, "the most important in the world." The show was a great commercial opportunity to talk to people, and see the opposition and their products, and be seen oneself.

Roger Hale, the second generation Managing Director of Birmingham's Parker Hale, also had great regard for the exhibition. To him it was the most important show in Europe, and the best meeting place because it covered the whole world. Besides displaying their sniper rifle, Parker Hale announced a new sporting rifle with their own design of action, in number of calibres, with production starting in late 1990 for sale in Spring 1991. To Mr. Hale the show was vital, and offered an opportunity to see all his distributors, show his own products and receive orders. In addition he too welcomed the opportunity to see new products and observe current trends. As well as rifles to be examined, literature was available on new products, and accessories such as cleaning rods etc. were present in quantity. Again this was a workmanlike stand with good facilities for conferences, but without frills. A different exhibitor with different needs, was having them fulfilled at IWA. Though I only questioned these four exhibitors, I am sure the vast majority were similarly satisfied. It was a magnificent show in a near perfect setting, working like a well oiled machine. Everyone seemed usefully engaged; far from the proverbial boozy "Jolly" of some industries. Despite the famous saying of the late Lord Stockton, good sporting is never "fun," but exporting and selling at IWA is probably as much fun as it can ever be, by the nature of the show itself.
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Title Annotation:appraisal of 1990 International Trade Fair for Hunting and Sporting Arms and Accessories
Author:Ward, Wilfrid
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Oct 1, 1990
Previous Article:I.W.A. 1990: political changes in Europe signal the opening of new markets.
Next Article:An introduction to FITASC and its loads.

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