Like many of you, I just returned from the American Dental Association’s annual meeting in Philadelphia. Like many of you, I was anxious to see what kind of show would unfold in the City of Brotherly Love. I had heard from so many people how this show would rival the infamous Kansas City, post-9/11 ADA meeting in terms of low attendance and morale. I had heard that the convention center in Philadelphia was a bad place to conduct business. I had heard plenty of reasons why people shouldn’t be going to the ADA meeting. As I write this editor’s note in mid-October, I’d like to let you know what I saw - good and bad - in Philly. The following sentences are my opinion and mine alone. You are welcome to send me an email at [email protected] to agree or disagree with my views.
• Regarding the convention center itself, I thought it was very convenient and user-friendly. I didn’t see any of the layout problems that plagued the ADA in Orlando. I also thought the convention center’s main entrance (where many first entered the hall from the Marriott or Market Street) was very nice and one of the more inviting entrances I had seen in quite some time.
• One of the best things about the convention center’s location? Being directly across the street from the Reading Terminal Market. It may not be Las Vegas in terms of sensory overload, but there are some amazing sights and smells inside this restaurant-filled area. From Chinese to Amish, this place had everything and was a great outlet for many exhibitors who needed a quick lunch.
• The ADA’s Marketplace layout was once again on display, and once again received mixed reviews. On my laps around the convention center, it seemed like the infection control section (or the green area for those of you following with a color-coded guide) received the least amount of traffic while the center aisles and areas frequented by hygienists (the red on the opposite side of the hall) was fairly busy. Our booth was on the 2100 aisle and we seemed to get a decent flow of traffic. I know one of the reasons people hung around our booth was our location. No, not because we were in the center, but because we were near TeleVox and the balloon-tying artist. Seriously, I’ve never seen someone make better palm trees with monkeys, fruit salad hats, or fish eyes out of balloons better than this guy. OK, I’ve never seen anyone tie that many different formations of balloons in that short of a time.
I also can say I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone work as hard as he did. He made me tired just watching him.
• The extra half-day at the start of the show for the exhibit hall to be open? Sorry ADA, but it didn’t work. As predicted, the traffic was light and the exhibitors were grumbling about having to open their booths for an extra half-day. I don’t think I talked to one exhibitor who was glad the show opened early on Thursday. I know that, long before the doors opened in Philly, many exhibitors strongly expressed their displeasure with the show opening early. I hope the ADA will listen next time.
• Overall traffic seemed acceptable to me. No, it wasn’t a sparse hall like we saw in Kansas City, but it also wasn’t elbow-to-elbow like we saw in San Francisco. One ADA official told me on Saturday that 30,000 people were in attendance at the show. I have yet to see the final numbers (you will see them, along with a complete wrap-up of the meeting, in the January issue of Proofs), and I’ll be anxious to see how the show compared to recent ones in San Francisco, Orlando, and New Orleans.
• One of the nicest gatherings I attended was the 90th birthday party for Morton Charlestein of Premier Dental Products. Held at the National Constitution Center, it was great to see so many people turn out to wish him a happy birthday. The Constitution Center is a beautiful facility, and one that I wish I had had more time to see. Mr. Charlestein was the first person I met in the dental industry (during the DMA meeting held in Asheville, N.C.) and I was honored to be invited to his gala event.
• One thing I noticed was the lack of new products introduced in Philadelphia. I think this fact alone says volumes about what exhibitors expected heading into the meeting.
• On a personal note, I have to choose Geno’s over Pat’s in the battle of the Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. The Cheese Whiz and onions just couldn’t be beat.
Again, if there’s anything you agree or disagree with from this note, drop me a line at [email protected]. I’ll be putting together the ADA review story shortly, and I’d love to include some of your comments as well.
I’ll see you in New York for the Greater New York Dental Meeting. I hope your holidays are wonderful and filled with family and friends. Read on, this is your magazine.
Kevin Henry, Editor