Pitchcare in the USA
The warm tropical setting of the GCSAA 2002 show in Orlando, Florida may seem somewhat removed from the cold, wet days of February back in the UK, but it is a show that is well worth visiting to see the products and machinery available.
Only the Americans can host a show as large as this and the Orange County Convention Centre has to be the largest building I have ever seen let alone been in.
Best described as vast there are over 720 exhibitors showing only turf products and machines. With over twice as many exhibitors as IOG Saltex, and all under one roof in one hall, the Americans know how to look after their guests. There are ample food outlets around the perimeter of the hall, some even offering healthy salad lunches! But there are also shoeshine booths, a free cyber café for all and believe it or not two 10 minute massage parlours (not the ones you're thinking of) to help relieve stress and those aches and pains of walking the miles of floor space around the exhibitors.
The show this year has a healthy representation from the UK, Textron, Toro and John Deere are well represented of course, but new boys to the American market this year are Dennis mowers and Richard Campey Ltd.
Dennis mowers are proudly exhibiting their Cassette system of different implements that can be swapped over in less than a minute. Using the system a cylinder mower can become a verti-cutter or a scarifier or a brush whenever you require that mode of operation. Richard Campey Ltd has brought over the highly acclaimed Koro machines and both of these manufacturers are actively looking for distribution outlets in the US. Given the innovative nature of their machines it shouldn't take long for them to establish themselves in the American marketplace.
Also flying the flag for the Brits are Sisis, Allen Power Equipment, Bernhard and Co, Blec, Bowcom, Charterhouse Turf Machinery, Lloyds and Co, Nomix-Chipman, the Tinsley Group-Parkes Plant, and AFT Trenchers.
These companies that have made the trek across the Atlantic, have received some financial support from the Government through Trade Partners UK. The UK sponsor is the AEA-the trade association representing manufacturers and sole importers of outdoor power equipment and agricultural machinery.
It is great to see that there is encouragement from the British Government in support of British manufacturing and export abroad. Given the quality that many UK companies achieve with new products and machinery, it is a market place well worth exporting to. There are over 21,000 golf courses alone, in the USA, lest we forget all of the other grass sports played out here.
On my return I'll be reviewing some of the new products and machines on show, and unfortunately my return is the day after tomorrow. Universal studios is 800 yards up the road but it seems that time will catch up with me before I get the chance to sample the delights of the Orlando skyline.