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Grand Rapids Fair: a super show, super close by.

The fair, scheduled for Nov. 4-5, will give woodworkers throughout the region a chance to see a record number of machinery and supply displays.

Contract furniture manufacturer Nucraft Furniture Co.'s management style is decidedly different than many in the furniture manufacturing industry. While some companies strictly control all purchasing decisions from the top down, this Comstock, Mich.-based company uses self-directed work teams that are responsible for recommending equipment acquisitions to increase the efficiency of their departments.

With this type of management system, an educated work force that is aware of the available machinery and supplies on the market is more than just desirable, it is a necessity. For Nucraft, one of the ways it keeps its employees up on what is new in the industry is by having them attend the Midwest-Grand Rapids Woodworking & Furniture Supply Fair. Of Nucraft's 120 employees, 20 are generally sent to the show. This year, the exhibition is being held Nov. 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Nov. 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 a.m. at the Grand Center in Grand Rapids, Mich.

"As a company, we are always investing in things that are going to produce better quality and more efficiency," said Tim Schad, Nucraft president. "And, because we're organized with a team concept, a lot of people need to understand what is happening with the technology. The Grand Rapids show is a great place for them to go to see a lot of things that are happening at one time."

Record number of exhibitors

Schad's employees will have more than ever to see and discuss at this year's Grand Rapids show. A record number of exhibits and a larger exhibit hall await these woodworkers, according to Keith Eidson, show manager. More than 400 exhibitors, spread over two levels and 130,000 square feet of the Grand Center, will hawk their products. In 1991 there were 350 exhibitors. Added to this year's exhibitor list are 90 new exhibitors.

An additional room with an extra 10,000 square feet of exhibit space is being utilized this year to make room for the record number of exhibitors.

"We've got it all," said Eidson, "from nuts, bolts and screws on up to large woodworking machinery. This is a complete show."

Hold it and they will come

Like Nucraft, many midwestern companies -- if attendance projections hold true -- will take the opportunity to send their employees to this year's exhibition. The show, which has experienced double-digit percentage growth in attendance each year it has been held, is expected to draw more than 5,000 woodworkers from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and other states, Eidson said.

Eidson added that while he expects there will be more attendees than ever, professional woodworkers will not have to bump elbows with hobbyists. "This show is not suited for birdhouse-type of guys," he said. "Our exhibitors expect to see professionals. And we know that the woodworkers who attend are here to do business. This is not a craft show."

With so many woodworkers from across the Midwest expected to attend, the show is trying to encourage networking among the attendees. "In the past I don't know how much opportunity there has been for that," said Carol Kooistra, executive director of show sponsor, the Grand Rapids Area Furniture Manufacturers Assn. (GRAFMA), "but this year we plan to set aside two or three conference rooms so that people can go and talk together. We want to give them an opportunity to do more networking."

Educational opportunities

Woodworkers looking to expand their knowledge of the industry, or to get off their feet for an hour, can attend two free, hour-long seminars being sponsored by GRAFMA.

On Thursday, Nov. 4, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., John Kelbel of Guardsman Products will conduct the seminar: "Finishing Furniture Today -- with Solvents. And in the Future -- with Water." The seminar will be held in the Kent Room of the Grand Center.

On Friday, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., Scott Baker and Steve Rider of Arthur Anderson & Co. will host a seminar on "Best Practices," which will include such items of interests as budget processes and plant layout. This seminar will also be held in the Kent Room.


Connected to the Grand Center is the Amway Grand Hotel, a four-star hotel that features five restaurants. The show has arranged for special rates for those attending the fair. Those rates are $84 for a single, $94 for a double and an additional person is $10.

For more information on these rates or about attending the show, contact Trade Shows Inc. at (704) 459-9894.


Location: The Grand Center, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Dates: Thursday, Nov. 4 -- 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5 -- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Exhibits: More than 400 exhibitors occupying more than 130,000 square feet over two levels

Seminars: Two free seminars: "Finishing Furniture Today With Solvents - and in the Future with Water," Nov. 4 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.; "Best Practices," Nov. 5 from 11 a.m. to noon.

Sponsor: The Grand Rapids Area Furniture Manufacturers Assn. (GRAFMA)
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Title Annotation:Midwest-Grand Rapids Woodworking and Furniture Supply Fair
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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