Close to 300 Irish companies will descend upon New Jersey this weekend for a four-day trade show that will bring a slice of Ireland to the U.S.
Despite the gloomy economy worldwide, the Ireland Show, founded and organized by Irish men Peter Collins of Mullingar Pewter and John Branigan of Branigan Weavers, promises to be as big as ever.
The trade show, which takes place at the end of April every year in Secaucus, New Jersey and is currently in its 13th year, showcases the very best in Celtic giftware to clients from the U.S., Canada and even Argentina. The show starts on Saturday, April 25 and wraps up on Tuesday the 28th.
This year 300 exhibitors, most of whom are Irish with some Scottish and Welsh companies participating also, will display fine merchandise including but not limited to jewelry, knitwear, ceramics, glassware, food products and giftware across six floors of the Embassy Suites Hotel in Secaucus.
Collins, who was about to board a plane from Dublin to New York on Monday when IrishCentral spoke with him, said the idea of bringing Ireland to the U.S. was made after there was a huge “decline in Americans traveling to Ireland” to purchase gift products for their stores.
“We decided to bring the companies here and it’s been a great success year in year out,” said Collins.
When asked if there was a concern regarding the purchasing of large quantity of goods in the current economic climate, Collins said confidently that “a lot of the purchasing is already done” and numbers are as steady as they were in 2008.
It’s not all about trading and business either, explains Collins.
“It’s a social occasion where buyers and exhibitors who have been doing business together for years get together and have party nights, go out together and basically just have a good time,” he added.
Collins said the show has gone from strength to strength each year.
“Put it this way,” he said, “we started out at the Embassy Suites, who have been great to us by the way, with only two floors, and now in our 13th year we are up to six floors and we occupy four other hotels.”
The Ireland Show puts up buyers in hotels and shows them a good time in the hope that they will buy some of the thousands of Celtic products on offer.
Collins will be wearing two hats at the show over the course of the four days. While overseeing operations, Collins will also be displaying products from his company Mullingar Pewter.
While running a show of this magnitude is costly, Collins said it’s an “enormous success” and hopes to come back for years to come.
Although the trade show is only open to buyers, Collins said that the Irish were welcome to come and party anytime over the course of the weekend’s festivities.
For further information on the Ireland Show contact Sarah Callaghan at [email protected].