The November Expo is getting a lot of attention up & down the coast. Our website traffic has skyrocketed, vendors from as far as St. Augustine are sending in applications, and people are "clicking & liking" social media feeds faster than I can keep track of it all. I see an opportunity to turn this into an all-out shopping craze with thousands of attendees, so I'm making modifications to accommodate what I see unfolding.
I just finished one of Richard Branson’s books where he wrote, “If you go down the path others have been down, you're limited to what someone else has already seen and done,” which triggered some new ideas.
We’ve had a lot of calls from “Mom & Pops” who want to be vendors but they are used to paying $60 at “parking-lot” type events. $60 events draw $60 crowds….. which is not what we do. The thought of a mini-booth or table-display was considered but feedback pointed at this "cheapening" the event so a 10X10 standard booth is the smallest available vendor spot.
I added a page to the website describing vendor options: https://nauticalmilemagazine.com/vendor-options
I'm adding an old-school "Nautical Flea Market" where locals can sell used personal boating, diving and fishing gear, plus I'm considering a car club to display classic cars. I’m also thinking about more things for kids, like a petting zoo, and maybe a kid’s treasure hunt.
As features are added the event gets more “buzz,” attendees get more exhibitor variety, food vendors sell more food, vendors get more shoppers, and sponsors get seen by more people.
I recently watched the Netflix series Bloodline. It caught my attention when Danny’s character said, “A man’s gotta have convictions.” Conviction can mean you’re going to prison…. but he was referring to being certain of something. I’m certain the timing is perfect for this coast to have a huge nautical market.
It’s success has a lot to do with my office drawing a large crowd, which we’re good at. The business model has a win/win fail-safe where if I don’t draw that large audience for both of us, I lose too. Legend tells how Cortez burned his ships which gave his crew no choice but to fight or die. They fought, and they won. I have doubts of it being a true story, but it’s how you make things happen.
On the promotional side I'm getting a lot more attention from the word "Market" than I am with the word "Expo" for this particular event. It points perception more towards shopping, so I'm going to start using the word "Market" a bit more in advertisements.
The open-space square footage rate has been reduced from $1 per sq ft to $.75. Vendors who already paid for open space will get a credit.
We’ve had countless inquiries and applications have come in from several new exhibitors I don’t know. It’s exciting to be attracting new faces.