Keeping it fresh on the Trademarket floor

Angela Gittens, director general of Airports Council International, joined the IAADFS Board of Directors for the ribbon-cutting to open the Trademarket floor Monday morning.The Trademarket floor opened yesterday morning with the annual ribbon-cutting, kicking off the 48th IAADFS Duty Free Show of the Americas. The show floor was abuzz all day yesterday as exhibitors, veterans, and first-timers unveiled their products and held their first meetings with buyers.

Many veteran exhibitors have grown and evolved with the Duty Free Show over the years. Essence Corp., association member and show exhibitor since 1988, has witnessed the show’s evolution and has sponsored the fun run/walk for the last two years. The company, which currently distributes more than 40 high-end fragrance and cosmetics brands, showcases its products, and meets with buyers in a large, modern, light-filled booth that resembles a department store display.

Elliott Gillespie, right, Gold Bar Whiskey president, shares information with attendees about his award-winning whiskey.

Elliott Gillespie, right, Gold Bar Whiskey president, shares information with attendees about his award-winning whiskey.

“This show is where everything comes together — our brands, our employees, our clients. It’s our showcase. We’ve always been supportive of the (IAADFS) association,” said Jean-Jacques Bona, president, Essence Corp.

Spirit and wine distributor Alexander James & Co. has been a part of the IAADFS Show and association for more than 30 years. As longtime exhibitors, the company keeps it fresh each year by changing up its mix of products and updating packaging. Last year, actor Dan Aykroyd manned the booth to promote his Crystal Head gluten-free vodka, now offered through Alexander James in liter size and as a four-pack of 50-ml bottles.

“It’s never quite the same,” said President John Alexander when asked how his company’s exhibit changes from year to year. “We see a lot of old friends, some that we’ve known for 20-plus years, but we see a lot of young people too, and we need to keep it fresh.”

Sprayground founder Eddie Shabot talks about his company's edgy backpacks with Samuel Banks of Never Too Hungover.

Sprayground founder Eddie Shabot talks about his company’s edgy backpacks with Samuel Banks of Never Too Hungover.

In addition to the show’s many seasoned exhibitors, nearly 50 new companies are featured on this year’s show floor. The founders of award-winning newcomer Gold Bar Whiskey knew that in order to get off the ground with international sales, they needed to jump headfirst into the duty free market.

“We have had many requests from international customers, and we are ready for the duty free market. We are so proud of our whiskey; our goal is to see it sold in every airport,” said Elliott Gillespie, company president.

Inspired by San Francisco, home of America’s gold rush, Gold Bar Whiskey was recently awarded a double gold medal at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition as well as gold and best in show awards in packaging and design.

Sprayground is another company ready to enter the duty free realm. The company currently sells its fresh, edgy backpacks in Bloomingdale’s and small boutique stores, but Eddie Shabot, company founder, is ready to take on the international retail market.

“Our designs will be to backpacks what Swatch was to watches in the 1980s,” Shabot said.

New exhibitor Chewpod sees the duty free market as essential to reaching its primary target audience: travelers. Chewpod’s next-generation Energy and Sleep chewable dietary supplements are easy to carry and perfect for people on the go.

“These are perfect for business and leisure travelers,” said Chris Tolos with Chewpod. “You can take these with you everywhere, even through airport security. You can’t do that with an energy drink.”