This morning I headed out to Minnetonka for the Minneapolis Gift Mart’s, periodic gift show. Like most marts, the show is a combination of permanent showrooms, opened to retail buyers without appointments, combined with temporary booths for folks who don’t normally show. One assumes that the showrooms are open by appointment at other times, but one would have to be far more substantial operation than an indie bookstore. for that to happen.
As I have mentioned previously in the blog, some of the vendors don’t really understand the concept of a bookstore at a gift show. “Let me show you some books” was a refrain I heard more than once. I tried to explain that we buy books from book vendors at book shows, and that at a show like this, we are looking for anything but books.
I have been a bit concerned by the continual shrinking of space at the Chicago show. Most recently, Google has displace a several gift vendors down from permanent show rooms to temporaries. A this show, there didn’t seem to be a concern, although it was less than convenient to have the temporaries at the Mariott next door (and being that this was a pretty suburban setting, next door was about a half mile away).
It’s fascinating that the shows also have very different characters. Chicago is filled with vendors of home holiday décor. Minneapolis had a better selection of kitchenware vendors, not only than Chicago but seemingly than Atlanta. But for Boswell, I think we’re likely to add at least one stationery vendor, one journal vendor, and one chocolate vendor. I’ll let you know when they arrive.