This year’s Van Eerden Spring Show was a huge success and an event to remember. With almost 1000 guests, over a hundred vendors and aisles of featured food, the show was a hit. The show took place in Grand Rapid’s own DeVos Exhibition and Performance Hall. Since this show would be the biggest in Van Eerden history, we had to plan an even bigger and better event than ever before. As customers from all over the state walked the aisles, we knew we had a success on our hands.
Preparation began months in advance, almost as soon as the fall show was over in October. For 2017, we decided to have one big show instead of two smaller shows so we had to bring the wow factor. The decision to bring the spring show to Grand Rapids was easy, as we enjoy hosting customers in the city that started it all. Booking the hotel and exhibition hall was easy, deciding the theme and layout, not so much. As the time passed, the show came together and before we knew it we started set-up for the VIP party the night before.
VIP Party at the Spring Show
On March 7th, we transformed the ballroom into a “Party in the Park”. Decoration started as early as 9am and within a few hours the park was complete. Rustic tables, overhead string lights and music filled the ballroom as customers entered in their formal attire. Dinner options were plentiful. Multiple vendors served a variety of dishes including tuna tartare, smoked salmon, roasted chicken, colorful salads and more. For dessert, customers consumed anything from chocolate cake to boozy ice cream. Even at closing time, the park still buzzed with excitement. No one wanted the party to end.
At 6am the trucks rolled in and set-up began. Vendors took their booths while employees started organizing the main market. This year’s show featured new software, presentations and aisles of food. As guests arrived, they saw a huge display of a market, featuring fresh fruits and vegetables and a variety of seafood. Since Van Eerden started as a produce food truck, the market theme fit. Our customers felt equally impressed. Nick Trahair, from AmericInn, states, “I was very impressed with your show. Much like your company – it was organized and everyone had a great attitude and very helpful and welcoming”.
This Spring Show became more innovative with the inclusion of MealTicket. This new software allowed customers to register online, book items in advance and check-in electronically with vendors. Tracking the success of the show was easier as well. With live updates, sales reps could see which customers made purchases throughout the day.
Each hour the center stage hosted a variety of presentations, all regarding the latest trends in the food industry. Presentations included topics on incorporating eggs to an all-day menu, vegetables, healthy eating, the beverage revolution, new Asian cuisine and waste reduction. Each presentation lasted a half hour and left guests with many new ideas. In addition, customers could visit the Sweet Street food truck, or visit on of the many vendors to try their latest food items.
As the show came to a close, customers and vendors both could feel the success of the show. Once the customers left, we donated any leftover food to the Grand Rapids food bank. Although everyone felt exhausted, we knew we put on a successful event for everyone involved. As much work as the show is for all, we at Van Eerden are more than happy to see it unfold.