Record crowds for first International Franchise Expo in New York

A new location and new exhibitors were just some of the elements that helped make this year’s International Franchise Expo, one of the biggest and most successful yet

From June 15 to 17, The Big Apple gave 14,313 visitors the chance to enjoy a taste of more than 330 exhibitors from the world’s franchise industry.

The Javits Center, in New York City, was the new home of the International Franchise Expo (IFE), where for three days hundreds of new leads were generated as visitors took full advantage of the massive opportunities to network and find out everything there is to know about one of the world’s few buoyant industries.

More than 100 first time exhibitors were attracted by the event’s change in location, after 20 years in Washington, D.C., and were spurred by the desire to expand into the New York metropolitan area and beyond.

Many veteran IFE franchisors claimed they saw a higher footfall by noon on the first day than they did over the course of the entire weekend during last year’s event.

As you would expect, countless franchisors that consistently exhibit were on hand to develop their brands as well.

‘Tremendous success’

Jerry Crawford, President of Jani-King International, who was attending his first franchise exhibition in years, said: “This is what these shows felt like in 2005. Moving the show to New York was a tremendous success.”

John Twist, Vice President of Franchise and Business Development for Batteries Plus, agreed: “The IFE was a huge success for us this year. We were able to connect with multiple candidates who own mobile phone stores, hardware stores and restaurants, all looking for the next lucrative opportunity to invest in.

“For most people, the show was their first exposure to our brand and concept, and the reception was extremely positive. We walked away with some solid leads that most definitely will translate into sales.” Greg Delks, Director of Franchise Development for Firehouse Subs, added: “We had a great show and the interest in our brand in the NYC area is tremendous. Next year will be even better as we will have some restaurants open in the area.”

Media interest

Media interest in the show was also at an all-time high, as word about the IFE’s significance spread in the weeks and days leading up to the exhibition. Attendance and coverage included: Fox Business Network, Business News Daily, CNBC.com, CNNMoney.com, Entrepreneur.com, FoxBusiness.com, New York Daily News, The Street, Wall Street Journal, WCBS-TV, and WPIX-TV. MFV Expositions, the show’s producers, ramped up its marketing efforts with street teams, billboards, street banners and promotions in publications, like Money, TIME and Fortune to increase awareness of the new and improved IFE.

Tom Portesy, President and CEO of MFV Expositions, said: “Initially, we were concerned about the 2012 IFE – we had set our goals and expectations rather high.

“A few weeks prior to the expo, our confidence soared – the reaction to the IFE going to New York City was everything we hoped for and then some.

“In our 25 years of producing franchise events, regardless of success, this is the first expo where every single exhibitor was delighted with the results. It was an extraordinary weekend for franchising, the International Franchise Association and MFV Expositions.”

Written by Joel Goldstein