BC Wood and member companies participated in the NAWLA Traders Market, live and in-person for the first time in over 20 months.  The “annual” event, except for last year, took place in Louisville Kentucky, the birthplace of bourbon, KFC and Mohammed Ali. Given that it was my first time traveling into the US in a very long time, it was also an amazingly difficult place to get to – taking a little under 12 hours to get from Vancouver to Louisville.

Now onto the main event, the folks at NAWLA informed me that they had almost 800 people registered and by mid-day Friday, 720 people participated in the event. That is impressive and a lot more than any of the BC manufacturers were expecting. The traders floor was busy, not to the level of previous years, but busy enough that manufacturers got to meet with some important US distributors.  As one BC manufacturer commented,” I actually had time to have valuable conversations, face to face, with people I haven’t seen in almost two years”.  The interest in getting together was probably best experienced at the NAWLA opening reception, which was well attended. I will admit, it was somewhat disconcerting being in a ballroom full of people, all shaking hands and chatting away.

In the end, I was pleasantly surprised with the NAWLA event. It brought a relative sense of the “return to normalcy” for business and gave the impression that the difficult times of the pandemic are behind us. Don’t get me wrong, travel is still not easy, especially with the negative PCR COVID tests needed to return to Canada, but that’s another story. It did feel good to meet directly with people again, and with all the exciting market development activities that we have scheduled in the next 6 months, I encourage you to reach out and see if they are a fit for your company. As always, I can be reached at dfarley@bcwood.com or on my cell at 604-728-8786.