You might notice a few changes to this year's print version of the VM+SD Buyers' Guide. Instead of taking up the entire issue, it's now a special section. Ten years ago, the Buyers' Guide filled the January issue: 392 pages, printed on newsprint, pages and pages of listings, categories and sub-categories, literally a phone book.
Why the big change?
It's not entirely due to less companies active in the industry, although there are fewer because of consolidations and mergers on both the supplier and customer sides. The big change is the advent and coming of age of the Internet, and how readers actually use the Buyers' Guide and source suppliers.
The inherent qualities of the Internet – searchability, immediacy, unlimited space, paperless communication – make it the ideal medium for large quantities of text information, especially directories such as the phone book and the VM+SD Buyers' Guide. What we have included in this year's print Buyers' Guide is a basic structure of categories and companies actively serving the industry. Throughout the special section, you will be directed to the online VM+SD Buyers' Guide for product sub-categories, direct links to company web sites, e-mail links and featured listings.
This setup offers the best of both the virtual and tactile world. By compiling information in both the print and online Buyers' Guide, we've now made available a complete searchable industry supplier resource.
What's new doesn't stop with the Buyers' Guide. As online shopping is a complement to actual shopping, trade shows and conferences continue to work with magazines to inform, enrich and educate.
To that end, VM+SD is partnering with ExpoNation LLC to present a new trade-show concept, Retail Interiors Expo, which will debut at the Donald L. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago, May 17–18, 2006. This event offers a more focused exhibition hall, featuring top suppliers and unique events such as The Design Firm Challenge. For more information, go to www.retailinteriorsexpo.com.
Retail Interiors Expo joins the stable of events presented by VM+SD magazine: StoreXpo the industry's oldest event, the traditional winter market in New York City (December 6–7, 2006), and the VM+SD International Retail Design Conference (September 6–8, 2006, San Francisco), the premier education, information and inspiration event in our industry. These in-person experiences, along with the industry's oldest and most respected magazine, VM+SD, and its most dynamic web site, www.vmsd.com, keep the industry connected and keep readers and online visitors informed and entertained.
I welcome your questions and comments, and wish you a safe, happy and prosperous New Year.
VM+SD Associate Publisher