San Francisco Exhibitors See Rise in Activity

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SAN FRANCISCO -- While some exhibitors at the DMD Conference & Exhibition in New York complained that traffic was lighter than in years past, exhibitors at The Annual Catalog Conference at the Moscone Center here were upbeat yesterday.

Mark Groff, vice president of sales for Arandell Corp., Menomonee Falls, WI, a printer and distributor of catalogs, said he observed more traffic than at the two previous catalog conferences. It is not known how attendance compares with past shows because the Direct Marketing Association does not release attendance figures.

"San Francisco [as the location] may have something to do with that, and maybe the economy is coming back a little," he said. "I'm getting more face-to-face with clients."

Martin LeSauteur, CEO of Montreal-based Flow Systems, which manages and publishes product information for catalogers, praised the show. He is part of his company's five-person team from Canada that is attending the conference for the first time.

"We've been busy," he said. "We've been talking to prospects all day and doing demos of our product. People have been lined up for demos, and I've had to tell them to come back.

"We expected it to be busy. If I come out of here with one deal, I'm happy. I think I'll come out of here with more than one. If I had to make a decision now, I would say yes to going to [next year's Catalog Conference in] Chicago."

List Services Corp., Bethel, CT, is one of a number of companies attending both shows. Steve Fishman, vice president of list and alternative media brokerage at LSC, described the catalog conference as "OK" but said that "traffic has been sparse for a good part of the time."

Fishman attributed the situation to the DMD Conference taking place 3,000 miles away in New York and a cutback by companies in how many people they're sending to shows.

"It's more the New York show [that's having an impact]," he said yesterday. "I think the industry should try to work to make sure those overlaps don't happen again."

His firm has four people in San Francisco and eight to 10 in New York.

"I service both catalog and non-catalog clients," he said. "It splits us up in terms of clients. If I'm here and I have a client in New York, that's a problem. We assigned people where they would have the most impact in terms of their clients."

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