To kick off 2016, the Kinnek team has been meeting a variety of small business owners and suppliers at events across the country including the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento, CiderCon and our Small Business Social in Portland and the Hotel, Motel & Restaurant Supply Show of the Southeast in Myrtle Beach.
These events provide a great opportunity to meet with existing customers and suppliers but also teach us a lot about new industries that need support. It's also not a bad way to escape the East Coast Winter and taste some delicious beverages...but more importantly, trade shows and events help us to document the pain-points SMB customers and suppliers face with purchasing or selling equipment and supplies.
Unified Symposium: Sponsorship & Beyond
We also discovered wineries are excited about Kinnek as a new way to connect with suppliers. Consensus among winemakers showed the time is ripe for a shift into digital purchasing as more suppliers not only build out their online footprint but look to join our marketplace every day.
Many of our long-standing supplier partners are also ready to support growing cross-industry demand for online purchasing.
The pace of expansion keeps growing as suppliers look to expand from provisioning mostly wineries or breweries to also include craft distilleries, cideries, promotional products and food packaging.
Breadth is big in supplies. For that reason, don’t be surprised to find a wine bottle supplier who also stocks growlers!
In contrast, CiderCon shone a spotlight on an emerging and fast-growing cider industry. Conference organizers say this year's event was the largest one yet with attendance topping 1,000 people from 44 states and 8 countries.
It certainly felt that way during the conference, with a palpable buzz about the future of the industry, which had American hard cider makers especially keen on reclaiming a lost tradition and the country's heritage varietals.
While problems still abound for small-scale makers without direct access to fruit or constriction in distribution, the community celebrated recent legislative changes as a positive sign of things to come.
Attendees had the opportunity to choose workshops, seminars and tastings, network with colleagues and enjoy many “Outside Con” events throughout Portland (including Kinnek's first ever "Small Business Social" with a guest appearance from our friends at CiderCraft Magazine).
In the meantime, Kinnek spoke to the Portland Business Journal about our entry into the cider industry.
Takeaways included learning that the state of the cider industry in different parts of the country is still relatively fluid. Ranging from more established business and regulation in the North West to recent developments in the North East championed by new associations such as the New York Cider Association, cider is working hard to follow in the craft brewing and winery industries' footsteps.
Hotels & Motels
The Hotel, Motel & Restaurant Supply Show was a great venue to focus on growing our presence in the lodging sector, which has significant adjacencies to our current and prospective marketplace offerings. Areas like commercial and industrial lighting, bedroom and lobby furniture, washing machines, and internal systems could be areas where Kinnek's marketplace could provide huge benefits to small business owners and suppliers. Areas like textiles and surfaces however present more of a challenge.
Trade Show Trust
To date, trade shows have represented a great way to build solid business relationships. That's why you'll see us boost our presence at trade shows this year.
For Kinnek trade shows are also the perfect place to meet new customers and suppliers in person, check out their wares and understand how best to tailor the marketplace to suit the needs of SMBs in that industry.
Watch this SpaceTo follow the Kinnek team on their travels or learn more about the stories of customers and suppliers we meet along the way, watch for exciting new videos on our Kinnek Community and Supplier Academy channels. Experience the buzz and review live demos of equipment and supplies!
Stay tuned as we continue our cross-country/cross-industry tour. Let's make 2016 the year to Kinnek! Subscribe to our blog to get the latest Kinnek news.