PFA members enjoy sold-out trade show in San Antonio

(Clockwise from top left, Carrie Harrington, Allen Scarsella and Dick Strandberg, Mayflower Balloon Distributors ready for their Hot Spot Presentation. Ray Pogue, owner of The Party Guys, Modesto, California, with Sue Jereczek, Executive Director PFA. Jerry Levy, Owner Party Works Outlet, Memphis, Tennessee, tries a mustache on for size with Tomas Siuipys with Mustaches USA. Bottom, scenes from the PFA party at historic Sunset Station in San Antonio.)

As 24th PFA Annual Conference & Trade Show in San Antonio came to a close in 2018, the feedback from both buyers and sellers was extremely positive, some would even say “Excelente!” The event was held Feb. 1-3, 2018, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel and Conference Center on the Riverwalk.

“The response from our exhibiting vendors has been overwhelming.  They are so impressed with our members and the PFA Community and just how attentive, passionate, and genuinely nice everyone is!” – Sue Jereczek, PFA Executive Director

Paper First Affiliates (PFA) is America's first and only member-owned Party Store Association, and the most powerful buying group in the Party and Halloween Industry. Every major decision in PFA is made by the members (Board of Managers) for the members, and not by one individual or Owner.

The PFA show continues to be an invaluable resource for store owners and vendors to come together and do business. After all, the business relationship between the PFA members and vendors is based on buying and selling and they work hard not to forget that principal. One thing PFA is extremely proud of this year is that their show was actually SOLD OUT and they had 23 NEW vendors for the members to buy from on the show floor. On top of that, they had room for 80 vendors and had a waiting list of 12 others they could not accommodate. In a year where most trade shows are struggling, that turn out was remarkable. Here’s what some of the members are saying:

“That’s what’s great about this show… you get that one-on-one contact with the vendors… and build your business, especially in a time when everything is changing and you have to change with it.” – Jeffery Lyda, Party On, Austintown, Ohio.

“It's the way to find out what's trending …and the workshops we do are great…we get a lot of ideas, and we feed off each other. You have to come to the show... you have to!” – Lorenzo Caltagirone, Total Party & Fright, Arlington, Virginia.

“I have attended the PFA conference for years now and the return on investment just keeps getting better. The PFA conference has become the most important and beneficial of any market to us. We cannot afford to miss it.” – Jerry Levy, Party Works Warehouse, Memphis. 

The Conference marked a return of PFA’s innovative one-hour “HOT SPOT” event, where the buyers gather in one room and log into PFA’s portal, while 8 to 12 vendors step up and offer special “HOT” pricing up to 20-35% off their regular prices. 

“Our second year of the HOT SPOT, was even more successful than last year.  We thank the vendors who participated in these special deals – Amscan, Beistle, Cool Glow/Fun Central, Creative Converting, Fun Express, Hi-Float, Mayflower, Mr2DGlobal, Northwest Enterprises, US Toy, & Worthington.  Our sales orders generated during that 1.5 hour session was over $417,000, which was about a 27% increase over orders placed last year,” – Paula Federici, PFA Executive Buyer

“We are so proud to be part of the PFA family. PFA is a great group of retailers, store owners and friends. As a preferred vendor, it has helped us to increase our business, test new products and strengthen our business relationships. Their annual trade show each year is a great venue to exchange ideas and meet new members.” — Allen Scarsella, Mayflower Distributing Company Inc.

“This was the first year Palamon had participated in the PFA Trade Show.  Because of the fantastic exposure created, Palamon had a HUGE increase in sales.  The opportunity to explain our company and product to each member at one location is an invaluable tool for us vendors.  Show was professionally conducted, very organized, as the PFA staff was very helpful.  We look forward to next year’s show.” — Gary Malone, Palamon

“The PFA trade show is a favorite of ours! The format allows vendors face time with every PFA member. The staff is professional, helpful and friendly. The customers are wonderful, polite and give us their full attention. We saw a big increase in business written at the show during our second year attending. We are looking forward to San Diego in 2019!” – Cheryl Vickery, Caspari

With the conference being just a few steps away from San Antonio’s famous Riverwalk, members and vendors alike enjoyed all the sights, sounds and dining experiences that this location has to offer. 

I think all will agree that this 24th PFA Conference was a fabulous gathering… a celebration of buying and selling.

Just a reminder — the next PFA Conference and Trade show will be in San Diego in January 2019.

Originally posted Thursday, Mar. 8, 2018

Tags: paper first affiliates, pfa