By Jim Obermeyer
When you’ve been in the same industry for more than four decades, you tend to think you’ve seen and heard it all. When you’ve been on the show floor at more than 500 shows across the globe, you may not think there is anything more to learn. But then you go to EuroShop for your first time.
EuroShop has been on my bucket list for a very long time, but every three years, when the show came around, there was always a (relatively) good reason that I couldn’t make the trip. When we started talking about the show on the executive committee of EDPA and decided to take a space in the IFES Village at the show, I started thinking about it again. And since I’m now working for a UK-based company, it made perfect sense to head to the show and then follow it up with a visit to HQ.
EuroShop: Seventeen convention halls at the Messe Dusseldorf in Dusseldorf
Germany is the world’s largest event for the retail industry. Everything from exhibits and events to retail marketing and technology, lighting, store design and shop fitting, food service equipment, refrigeration and energy management can be seen. And that one hall filled with mannequins–I wouldn’t want to be the security guy in there at night.
In between spending time in the IFES/EDPA booth and visiting with our suppliers in the area, I did actually get out and visit all 17 halls. The show is an incredible example of the latest trends in exhibit design, experience creation and interactive technology. I can see why so many designers and creative teams visit this show on a regular basis. It is the place where companies pull out all the stops to create environments to draw in the audience to tell their stories.
Each major sector of the industry had its own stage in their respective hall for presentations throughout each day. In the Expo & Event Marketing Hall was the IFES stage, just across the aisle from the IFES Village. Presentations were on a wide variety of topics related to our industry, including a session on exhibiting in North America, led by a panel including Mark Johnson from Exhibitor Publications, Chris Griffin from CREW, Steve Riches from Laguna Displays and Paco Collazo from Happy Projects.
I was surprised and impressed by the number of Americans in attendance. I did not expect to see so many of my industry colleagues walking the show. I had one German friend ask if there was nothing going on in the US because it seemed we were all at this show. I think it was an indication of how anxious we all were to get back to doing business in our industry, both in the US and globally.
This is a five-day show, with long show hours (10am – 6pm), and hospitality events in booths every evening after show hours. And then dinner with your colleagues. And then a few drinks at the hotel bar. And then an early call for breakfast the next morning. We are all used to this routine at US shows, but at EuroShop, it just seemed to push the limit a little further. Maybe it was the effect of the time difference.
I talked to a lot of people who had been attending this show for many years, and I talked to a lot of people who were there for the first time. I just talked to a lot of people. And I loved it. People I see at every industry event; people I haven’t seen in years, new people I’ve now added to my contact list. And everyone I talked with was as energized as I was to be at this event.
EuroShop is truly our industry’s premier global event, and it is one of those things that everyone in our business should attend at least once in their career. Don’t be an old-timer becoming a newcomer. Put it on your calendar right now for the next one: February 22 – 26, 2026. Yes, it’s three years away. That gives you plenty of time to clear your calendar. See you there.
Jim Obermeyer has been in the exhibits and events industry 40 years, both as a corporate trade show manager and exhibit house owner. He can be reached at email@example.com