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No, not that kind of affair — but I am in love! I just returned from the Carecraft Annual Meeting in San Diego. In our 41 years in business, Charles and I have been to uncounted numbers of conferences, conventions and trade shows, but, I have to say, this one was absolutely outstanding. The format and events, the food and entertainment, the way the vendors were treated, (which I was), and the camaraderie and enthusiasm and courtesy of the members of Carecraft were all the best of the best.
First of all, the staff of Carecraft had everything so well organized they made it look easy, which it of course is not. The room for the tabletops was sized so that you could find everybody easily and every location was a good one in the hall. As one of the smallest vendors, if not the smallest one, I truly appreciated the exposure for my product I received.
The method Carecraft uses for time with dealers and vendors is also basically a stroke of genius. Each vendor gets play money in 20-dollar bills. Every dealer was asked to sit for ten minutes with us and hear about our products, at the end of which we gave them a “twenty dollar bill” to redeem later for credit.
It worked extremely well, and was much more comfortable than standing for hours as you do at other trade shows, attempting to rope people into your booth. This method allowed each vendor and dealer to converse, get to know each other, and go into the benefits of a product in depth. I received lots of orders and enthusiasm (and hopefully future orders) and the old feet were spared.
One of the things I liked best were the group meetings at the beginning of the day. When is the last time you sang God Bless America, or saw a color guard or a military band at a trade show event? Well, perhaps one reason there was such a spirit of love that pervaded this event was that the values were set right at the beginning with a stirring patriotic emphasis, and some uplifting presentations stressing the themes of “gratitude” and “attitude” — those old-fashioned traditional values sort of set the right tone, you know?
Another inspiring program told the story of the most widely used song in history, Amazing Grace. No, it was not pushing religion; it was infusing the event with inspiring information about our culture and what we stand for as people. It was appropriate, inspiring, interesting and yes, it created a spirit that carried through the entire conference.
There was also lots of helpful business information, but it seemed to me it meant more after a healthy initial infusion of the values that truly make our businesses and lives successful in the ways that really matter.
All was not serious, though. There were some excellent parties with great music and food, as well. And there was a little bit of down time for a chance to enjoy the many fascinating things San Diego has to offer.
In our business we have a motto that spells our name: Wisdom, Integrity, Service, Experience — it spells WISE. Truly the Carecraft event exemplified everything “WISE” that a trade show and group meeting should have. Thank you, Carecraft — I’m in love!