Nightclub and Bar 09: Selling in Tough Times

March 2009

 CHAUVET® dealers are feeling the pinch of these troubled economic times. But the recent Nightclub and Bar Trade Show, held March 1-4 in Las Vegas, proved that buyers are still out there purchasing the bling that make their venues sizzle.

Charlotte, N.C. dealer Jack Kelly of Eye Dialogue, said the show was a little lower key this year.

“It was less like Disney and more like a shopping center – a lot of buyers and people who asked direct questions,” he said.

He’s finding the smaller, more stylized nightclubs are survivors because they don’t have to invest as much money to add the glamorous lighting and accoutrements that patrons expect.

In Nevada where the unemployment rate has topped the 10 percent mark, Planet DJ owner Chris Whybrew said the trade show was good overall.

“They were more impressed that our prices were less than half of what they expected,” he said.

 Queens, N.Y., has also been hard hit by the economy, said Frank Garcia, owner of Mainline Pro Lighting, another CHAUVET® dealer who also attended the trade show.

He spoke with attendees from resorts, hotels and casinos, pointing out that the show attendance is not limited to its namesake.

“Things are a little rougher in the Northeast, the pinch is pretty strong here,” Garcia said. “Installations are good, retail is not.” Nightclubs are having a tough time filling the rooms on weekdays because of the economy, he added.

“You have to find creative and new approaches for yourself. To survive and succeed you must tap into as many markets as possible and do in-your-face marketing.”

Chicago dealer Graeme Watson, owner of Saints and Sinners, specializes in houses of worship and nightclubs. In business for 24 years, Watson said the best way to get products out is by dealing with the end user and suggested continued participation in trade shows.

“When you have the booth and owners of clubs and sports bars see the products, the orders go out.”

He said he’s not seeing a lot of impact from the economy, but he added it might be due to the two areas upon which he focuses.

“When people are depressed and the economy is bad, they turn to two areas – churches and bars.”