IGC Show Chicago, which takes place Aug. 16-18, is the world’s biggest trade show and educational conference for independent garden centers. This year, IGC Chicago celebrates its 10th year at Navy Pier. New and proven products are showcased at the show, and buyers will discover money-saving show specials and write orders onsite.
Are you heading to this year’s show? If so, here are nine things you need to know about IGC Chicago, starting with …
1. Three Free Keynotes. Every morning before the trade show opens, attendees can get inspired with a free keynote address. This year brings Gen X garden blogger Amanda Thomsen, independent garden center retail visionary and professional motivator Corey Bordine, and football legend and pro commentator Mike “Da Coach” Ditka.
2. REO Speedwagon Free Concert. Tuesday evening’s free 10-Year Birthday Bash, includes a free concert by rock ‘n’ roll legend REO Speedwagon. They’ll take the stage, performing iconic hits like “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”
3. IGC Show Chicago “Retailers’ Choice” Garden Center Tour. Take back the newest ideas from the industry’s favorite area independents.
4. The IGC Retailer Conference debuts a fresh interactive format this year with five retail-specific tracks, including “Millennials Demystified,” led by Matt Britton, America’s leading expert on selling to Gen, X, Y, and Z consumers.
5. GCA Member Lounge. Garden Centers of America (GCA) members enjoy access to a special GCA Member-Only Lounge, open during show hours with free refreshments. On Wednesday, Aug. 17, GCA members will enjoy a free catered buffet lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
6. Navy Pier on the Shores of Lake Michigan. As Navy Pier approaches its Centennial celebration, a few of the newly renovated features unveiled include a new Ferris wheel that stands at 196 feet tall with 42 gondolas, an interactive water fountain at Polk Bros Park at the pier’s entrance, the illuminated Wave Stair and integrated Wave Wall, and a new food court. Other popular, fan-favorite attractions still located on Navy Pier include the Chicago Children’s Museum, Cirque Shanghai, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
7. New Vendor Zone. The New Vendor Zone showcases exhibitors that have been hand-selected for their particularly creative or innovative offerings not typically seen at other industry trade shows. Attendees will have the opportunity to discover the very latest trend-setting products and vendors that will give their stores the leading edge.
8. Master Nursery Garden Centers’ Meetings. IGC Show Chicago is home to two Master Nursery Garden Centers’ (MNGC) meetings: the Summer Board of Directors Meeting and the Midwest Regional Member Meeting.
9. IGC Show Chicago Free App. The free 2016 IGC Show Chicago app, available for download in the Apple App Store and Google Play, puts all the excitement and resources of the world’s largest trade show and educational opportunity at attendees’ fingertips. Some of the special features include an exhibitor booth map and vendor descriptions; a full show schedule with detailed listings; and a LiveAlbum for photo-sharing of the show’s best moments.