If you weren’t in Edison, NJ, for the Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo last week, then rest assured you missed out on an amazing event.

The energy that built up during the Tuesday and Wednesday Cabinets & Closets Conference literally burst onto the expo floor in the form of an early-gathering crowd. By 10:30 a.m. the booths and aisles of the main hall were jammed with buyers inspecting the wares of the nearly 90 exhibit displays – 75 percent greater than the 2012 Closets Expo in Austin, TX.

Clearly the success of the Cabinets & Closets Expo was a strong sign of an improved economy and the decisions to expand the show to embrace custom cabinet makers and locate the event in the Northeast, the first woodworking-related show held there in four years. But while the largest contingents of attendees were from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, 35 other states and four Canadian provinces also were represented.

I can go on and on about how great it felt to be one of the organizers of this awesome event. But why take my word for it when you can read the comments of exuberant exhibitors and attendees who participated at the Total Storage Solutions event.

“The vibe at this year’s expo was full of energy! The location and setup proved to be seamless which gave us more opportunity to connect with old friends and meet new ones. I am looking forward to next year!” -- Debra Behring, President, JB Cutting Inc.

“The 2013 Cabinets & Closets Expo was a very strong event for us (best one ever). The foot traffic far exceeded our expectations and the overall mood of visitors was extremely positive.” -- Richard Chappell, General Manager, Cabinet Vision/Cabnetware

“For those of us in the woodworking industry, the Cabinets & Closets Expo is the one show that you must attend to help keep current, view new products, and maintain relationships with customers. It is a valuable resource that should be utilized. The show was INCREDIBLY successful for us.” -- Jonathan Taylor, Operations Manager / Kitchen Dealer Manager, Eveready Hardware

"The Cabinets and Closet Conference was a great conference for our company to attend! The quality of attendees was impressive. We had a steady flow of attendees, who were genuinely interested in our products and what we had to stay. I spoke to several other exhibitors who had a similar experience!" -- Tina Krohn, StorageMotion

“The 2013 Cabinets & Closet Expo exceeded our expectations. We enjoyed a full booth of interested cabinet and closet makers throughout the show. Volume was high and we met nice people from all over the U.S. states and Canada. The energy of the show was friendly and energetic. Attendees were very interested in learning about and trying our software with a high level of interest focused on our CNC manufacturing software. Many attendees also shared their own experiences and ideas with us. We had a great time.” -- Leslie Murphy, KCD Software

“Resilience through innovation probably best describes the state of the closet Industry at this time. I met some very talented people. The event was very well organized, managed and cost-effective venue to meet with many of our closet accounts. A prevailing sense of renewed optimism by exhibitors and attendees alike was extremely refreshing.” -- Reiner Kamp, President, BHK of America

“We had a good show. I think the timing was great and hope it’s a sign that the closets segment is back on the rise.” -- Dave Rakauskas, Colonial Saw

“The expo proved to be not only an enjoyable time of networking but also a productive time of strategizing with other professionals in the industry.” -- Christian Smedberg, director of marketing, Osborne Wood Products Inc.

“Promob USA Software had great success at the Cabinets & Closets Expo, the first time we had exhibited. Genuinely interested dealers, designers, and cabinetmakers inquired and interacted with Promob’s latest release Promob Design, which gears toward cabinet and closet design-making. HandiSolutions became a trade partner, thus extending Promob Design’s capability into full garage design. Rev-A-Shelf customers received a full one-year software license, and attendees received a 30 day complimentary trial of Promob Design. The expo revealed networking connections, growth stability on the rise, a genuine interest for innovation, practicality, and transitional influences. -- Daisy Arias, Marketing Account Executive,  Promob Design Software Solutions

“We were pleased by the turnout at the Cabinets & Closets Exposition 2013. Richelieu Hardware reached numerous cabinet makers and potential buyers, thereby ensuring continued success in the North-eastern region.” – Adam Williams, Marketing Coordinator-Showrooms, Richelieu Hardware

“I’ve been enjoying the closet business for years but the conference has given me the opportunity to enjoy relationships with the people in the industry as well.” -- Skip LaBella, President, Closet America

“The 2013 Cabinet & Closet Conference was an overwhelming success. The number of attendees, quality of leads, the support of Vance and the Association of Closet and Storage Professionals helped make this show the best in years. Eveready is already looking forward to next year.” -- Richie “The Mayor of Hardware” DeMarco, Eveready Hardware

“Seriously, our expectations on the show were definitely exceeded with the attendance and quality of leads we received. We have always felt the importance and value of shows to meet with customers and perspective customer face to face. It was great to have another regional show!” -- Ken Clifton, President, CCF Industries

“It was a pleasure to meet to at the Cabinets & Closets Expo last week in New Jersey. I’ve attended several of the conferences over the years, beginning with Santa Clara in 2006 and have gained valuable connections, information and support at each one. Upon my return to work this week, I’ve been reaching out to new contacts, new vendors and renewing commitments and relationship with continued industry partners – all extremely important to my business and me personally.” -- Patrick Layne, Vice President, Valet Custom Cabinets & Closets

“For a first-time exhibitor of the Cabinets & Closets show, I feel it really benefited us that the show was local. We met some of our long-term customers for the first time face to face; that was a great experience! We also brought in new business by being able to introduce all of our products and the services we offer. The show was a great experience all around for us, DC Distributing has not exhibited in many years and we were unsure if we wanted to get back into. We did and we are now considering doing more shows like this one in the future.” -- Peggy Shultz, DC Distributing

“Overall a nice show with a good turnout.” -- George Kaye, EdgeCo

“Business is more than just making and selling product, it's about learning and growing. Someone said, ‘If you were too busy working in your business to come to the conference, you're best described as self employed with a bunch of helpers." Here's what I got:

  • 80 vendors and some new products;
  • 8 educational sessions;
  • 8 shop and showroom tours;
  • Many great meals;
  • Great friends and camaraderie;
  • More than one Gold Nugget; and
  • A break from the chaos...priceless." --  Dave Skinner, President, We Do Closets

 And these are just the early returns. Keep those cards, e-mails and phone calls coming!

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