Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Edmonton Show Report

What an interesting three days in Edmonton!  As some of you are aware there are new owners in place for the Western Canadian Jewellery Expo.  For Phil and his crew, they wanted to make sure that their inaugural show was both exciting and secure.

For excitement, they moved the show opening reception to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.  The lower level was cleared of tables, and an open cocktail reception (sponsored by Jewellers Mutual and the Canadian Jewellery Buyers Group) welcomed those of us not out on the Marriott’s patio with Corona.  Although a bit warm down there, Ruth’s Chris put-on a great reception featuring rib-eye sliders that were to die for.  The show also featured a draw for a brand new Lexus; not just a one or two year lease, the whole car – sponsored by Gold Star and Canadian Jeweller Magazine.  The winner was De Vo, owner of Paris Jewellers (as if he needs it!)  This year, the sixth annual DiGem Evening of Decadence was moved to The Sutton Place Hotel, and the beneficiary was Little Warriors; a very worthy charity who not only work on prevention of child sexual abuse, but are building a camp to act as a treatment center for victims.  There are three treatment centers in Edmonton for rehabilitating sexual predators, but this will be the first in Canada to treat the victims.  Well-done Connie and her team!  Yours truly was among those who shut the place down after dancing-up a storm to the awesome Dr. Zeus and the Blue Whos.

On the safety side, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much security at a jewellery show.  When a lightening strike set-off an alarm, the Convention center was locked-down for two hours on Saturday afternoon; traditionally the busiest day of the show.  Edmonton’s finest were strolling the show sporting automatic assault rifles during all show hours.  I witnessed a police dog sniffing around under the loading dock ramp, and three Suburban’s full of tactical squad members were present for the mobilizing of the armored cars at the end of the show.  When Steve was within a few blocks of the Convention Centre on Sunday afternoon with our rental truck, he was pulled-over by the police, searched and questioned to ensure that he didn’t have a van-full of bad-guys.

To my knowledge there were no security breaches, and that was likely because of the extraordinary effort of all security staff.  I heard second-hand that when the new owners launched their website for the all-new “Canadian Jewellery Expos” that 600 out of the first 1000 hits were from Columbia, a prime source of both emeralds and jewellery thieves.

While the extra security may sound intimidating, it made me feel safe and secure so that we could enjoy the most important networking event of our year.  Congratulations to Phil & Geoff Payne and to Lilie Ford for keeping us safe and providing the ideal meeting-place for our Canadian jewellery industry!

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