The FIME 2017 Show (Florida International Medical Expo), which bills itself as “The Largest Medical Trade Fair Across the Americas” moved to Orlando, FL for the first time this past August. Considered a gateway for selling all types of medical equipment and products to Central and South America, the Caribbean plus North America, FIME had previously been held only in South Florida. Due to construction and renovation at the Miami Beach Convention Center, it moved to the Orange County Convention Center for 2017 and 2018.
“Had we stayed in Miami Beach, we would have had to deal with 40% less floor space,” said Dave Panther, Vice President of Global Sales for Informa, new owners of the show. “Ongoing construction in Miami will keep us in Orlando next year and no decision has yet been made as to where this show will be in 2019,” Panther said.
Attendance evaluations for the 2017 FIME show varied from enthusiastic to disappointing, depending on which of the over 1,640 exhibitors were asked to rate the quality of visitor attendance.
Jon Schultz, sales director for OxyGo® POCs, said the 2017 show was very good—if not stronger—than the 2016 show. “We experienced a lot of genuine interest in our portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) in Orlando this year,” said Jon. “I think the family atmosphere of Orlando, plus its larger exhibit hall, really helped.”
Jon noted that distributors and agents from Mexico and Central America were especially eager to learn about OxyGo’s standard, five setting POC and the company’s new ultra-lightweight (under three pounds), three setting OxyGo FIT™ POC.
Also echoing Jon’s positive assessment of attendance was Danya Morozowich, Key Account Manager for Hi-Tech Medical in Abbeville, SC. “We do all kinds of tubing for different applications. FIME 2017 has been a good show, providing good leads for us. We want to establish more business in South America with tubing and this show is helping us,” Danya said.
DMEs attending the show, looking for new products to offer, found plenty of potential retail products to evaluate. Tenura, a Manchester, England-based company making anti-slip and grip products for independent living, attracted lots of interest in its bottle and jar openers.
Several companies offered diabetic shoes. The Chinese pavilion offered many homecare products in addition to high tech surgical instruments and equipment. Scales for measuring body weight, from low cost to very pricey, caught the attention of many attendees.
Some oddball products, often not associated with medical shows, were also on display. There was a booth displaying Russian blue diamonds. “We go to medical shows because lots of women attend them—plus men shop for wives. We don’t go to jewelry store shows because they present too much competition,” said Product Manager, Natalie Rubiano in the Russian blue diamond booth.
A California-based company, Hotshotz Reusable Heat Packs, did a brisk business selling reusable heat packs for cash right on the show floor. Jay Schexnayder, CEO, said sales were very strong. Many of the heat packs he offered were hand warmers available in a wide range of different sizes.
Also, scattered throughout the show were skin care products that promised to eliminate face and hand wrinkles. There were at least ten such booths and some of the personnel manning those booths were very aggressive in trying to pull passers-by into their booths for product sampling. One even pulled the author of this article into his booth saying, “God sent you to me!”
The FIME acquisition is one of the latest moves by London-based Informa in its strategy to increase its exhibit presence in the overall U.S. market. Informa made a blockbuster deal for Hanley Wood Exhibitions in 2014 and also recently acquired the U.S. show organizers Virgo Group and Orlando MegaCon.