2013 Expo a Go!

There is a saying to effect that success breeds success. Certainly there is some truth to this and the most recent string of highly successful International Custom Rod Building Expositions bears this out.  On Saturday of the most recent edition of the Expo, I was visited by no less than three representatives of city visitor/convention bureaus who made it quite plain that they wanted the next Expo to be held in their city and would do whatever they needed to do to make it happen.

After careful consideration of all those who threw their hat in the ring, I have chosen Winston-Salem, North Carolina as the site for the 2013 International Custom Rod Building Exposition.

Winston Salem has long been considered the cultural center of the Southeast. The loss of its huge tobacco and hoisery industries in the 1980’s could have sent the city into a downward spiral. Instead, the city reinvented itself in many ways. It now features a vibrant downtown with dozens of restaurants, nightclubs, cafe’s, restaurants and shops, all within walking distance of two immaculate and full featured hotels, The Embassy Suites and Marriot (there are many, many more in the immediate area if neither of these strikes your fancy.) The center of the city’s convention life is the M.C. Benton Convention Center, which is located directly across the street from these two hotels and connected by an underground walkway. Parking is plentiful both at the hotels and in no less than three large parking decks within three blocks of the Convention Center. One of them is directly across a side street and connects to the Convention Center by an enclosed pedestrian overpass.

If you previously left your spouse at home thinking there was nothing to do in High Point, well, Winston-Salem changes all that.  There is plenty going on here 365 days of the year.

The downtown area is filled with shops, cafes, art galleries and museums.  Old Salem is one of the most unique areas in the U.S. It is true living history – an authentic mid 1700s town still just as it was over 200 years ago. It is within walking distance of downtown.

So what differences can the attendees expect? Plenty. For starters, the number of restaurants and shops within a stones throw of the hotels cannot be counted on two hands. And we’re not talking greasy spoons! Everything from inexpensive cafes to five star dining can all be had within a few blocks of the hotels and convention center.  You will not need a car – everything is right there. Shopping, theater, art galleries, etc. You name – it ‘s here.

What about the exhibitors?  Well, for them there will be some changes that may be just a tad uncomfortable. You see, the Showplace spoiled a lot of people. It eliminated the “middle man.” At the Benton Convention Center, we’re back to standard convention show protocol with a decorator who receives shipments, brings them to the convention center and handles table and chair rentals. However, this is no different that what they experience at ICast, Efftex, Affta, etc. Standard convention show protocol, that’s all. And… they and their personnel will enjoy the same increased amenities that a vibrant and colorful city such as Winston Salem can provide.

In addition, for the first time ever, we’ll have a roped off casting lane in the midst of the exhibit area. This will give exhibitors the ability to allow customers to test prototypes or built blanks before making a buying decision.

More information and actual dates will be available later this week. Until then, get ready for the largest International Custom Rod Building Exposition in history.


Tom Kirkman


PS Did you know that Empire State Building was modeled after the original RJ Reynolds headquarters building in Winston-Salem? It still stands today and is in the process of being converted into an upscale hotel.




  1. Ken Preston on April 22, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Looking forward to more details… Of course I’ve already determined that I’ll be there

  2. Nuno Paulino on April 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    I am happy to see the Big Show getting better every year.
    Tom its amazing what you continue doing year after year to improve rodbuilding. Thank you.


    P.S. Hope that i will be there for the first time

  3. Walt Stock on April 30, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Already booked and looking forward to the new venue.