A Bigger, Better Atlanta Pet Fair
Key changes to the upcoming Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference promise to make this year’s edition even more exciting and valuable than ever for groomers.
In mid-March, thousands of groomers will gather in Atlanta to learn, network and compete for thousands of dollars in prize money in North America’s largest grooming contests.
In an effort to give the show a complete makeover, the 2016 Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference (March 10-13) will introduce a new location, expanded seminars and hands-on learning opportunities for groomers to refine and elevate their craft. Groomers will also be able to take advantage of show specials being offered on a trade show floor focused entirely on their business.
A move to the larger Georgia International Convention Center means an increase of more than 4,000 net square feet of expo space, while allowing the 13 grooming contests to take place right on the show floor. Our goal is to give attendees the ability to shop and compare more than 100 of the top tool, product and equipment suppliers in the industry, while watching the incredible transformations taking place on the grooming contest stage.
I am confident this expansion will make the show easier to navigate, provide more space and reinforce Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference’s position as a professional, world-class event. Moving the grooming contests onto the show floor will only enhance the excitement surrounding these competitions.
In 2015, more than 115 groomers participated in Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference’s grooming competitions, breaking a record for the largest number of Poodles entered into a grooming contest, with 99 dogs. The 2016 show promises to be even bigger than last year. It is on track to break these impressive numbers while bringing back popular contests such as Best Pet Stylist, Best First-Time Competitor and Rescue Rodeo, in which groomers give dogs from local shelters a makeover to help them find a forever home.
After World Pet Association (WPA) purchased the show in 2014, we interviewed attendees and researched ways to create an even more exciting, high-caliber show on par with other time-tested WPA shows, including SuperZoo and America’s Family Pet Expo.
We found that Atlanta Pet Fair attendees crave the specialized educational component of the show as much as they do the grooming contest and trade show. So, we set out to enhance an already strong lineup of seminars, adding “Conference” to the show’s name to further highlight the world-class education available at the event.
Most notably, we will now guarantee a seat to anyone who registers in advance, doing away with long lines to get into popular educational sessions. We have also simplified pricing for the 2016 show—each seminar is now $12 each, with special seminars priced at only $99.
For 2016, Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference will offer 72 seminars, including eight special seminars ranging from mobile grooming and cat grooming to treating skin and coat problems. Special breakout seminars will cover industry hot topics in further detail, including a deep-dive into trendy Asian-fusion styles in Olga Zabelinskaya’s “How to Achieve the Modern Styles.” This five-hour session will demonstrate skillful techniques for mastering the Japanese Style, Korean Style, Brazilian Style and Creative Scissoring that Olga learned firsthand in the native countries.
In addition to grooming-specific seminars, the conference will also offer classes that speak to boosting overall business management skills, customer service and better utilizing social media, among many others. Opportunities for networking also abound, including a Friday night party sponsored by Kenchii and held at the Hilton Atlanta Airport. Kenchii recently released the theme of this year’s much-anticipated party: Masquerade.
Beyond Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference, we will offer professional groomers even more opportunities to enter high-profile grooming competitions in 2016. SuperZoo – which will take place August 2-4, with the conference August 1-3, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas – will award more than $45,000 in prizes over multiple contests, including Best Pet Stylist, Best First-Time Competitor, Creative Styling Competition and the Groomer Super Jackpot Contest. The Groomer Super Jackpot Champion will win $10,000, a trip to Belgium for the World Team Grooming Competition in 2017 (including hotel for three days and two nights), and a championship trophy. Registration for SuperZoo opened in late January and groomers are now able to sign up for these high-profile contests.
Doug Poindexter, CAE, is president of the World Pet Association, organizer of the Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference and SuperZoo.