Brought to You by the Letter E

HHH fabricated this show-stopping large curved lite.

Anyone who has been a kid, or raised kids or grandkids, in the past 50 years knows how the show Sesame Street usually starts. It opens with a Muppet popping up to tell us which letter of the alphabet is sponsoring the program on that particular day. Well, if GlassBuild America 2019 (GBA) had a Grover, Elmo or Big Bird pop up, they would surely say “this show is brought to you by the letter E.”

E? Yes, here’s why.

The e-vent which ended today at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, is both exhaustive and exhausting, but it’s also an exhilarating ode to the glass industry played out live in large expanses of glass and related products through exhibition and education.

The odd-year Atlanta shows always have a different feel than their even-year cousins in Las Vegas and 2019 was no exception. Exhibitors generally reported good traffic, though many commented that it seemed strong for the first few hours of both Tuesday and Wednesday and then died down, or should I say expired, in the early afternoon. Atlanta always attracts more day-trippers too, as a number of visitors with whom I spoke said they were just there for one day. No matter the length of time it was clear, as visitors came to buy in Atlanta.

The show also offered two one-day tracks of education; one on Monday for window companies and a second on Tuesday billed as the “Glazing Executives Forum.”  You can learn more about them from our coverage here:

How to Win the battle for the Wall

GlassBuild 2019: Pre-Game Steals the Show for Dealers

In a dilemma that is typical for show managers, some attendees were unhappy that the Window and Door Dealer Day program was the day before the exhibition opened. The Glazing Executives Forum attendees to whom I spoke, on the other hand, were unhappy it was held at the same time as the show. It’s excruciatingly difficult to make everyone happy but I expect the show organizers will revisit this before next year.

The show floor looked exquisite. One of the most popular displays was HHH which displayed what it says is the largest piece of curved glass ever made. I would have hated to be the person responsible for getting it on the show floor in one piece. Delivery was executed beautifully however, and its curved lite became a conversation piece of the show.

Here are some links to our video reports which show the floor in action:

Watch: Day One From Atlanta

Watch: GlassBuild Ramps Up in Day Two

There were far fewer companies from China at the event this year.

Also apparent were changes due to the world economy. The tariffs seem to have had at least one effect.  The rows and rows of small booths typically filled by Chinese companies were instead reduced to a few row-ettes on the show floor.

2019 was also the year that large lites, also known as jumbo glass became usual and not something new, with the possible exception of large curved lites. It was also the year fabrication software came of age and handling equipment moved from assisting to actually replacing glaziers. I’ll have more on that in my blog on Monday.

Attendees came from all over with the expected concentration from the Southeast U.S. No numbers have been released yet, but seemed to our booth staff that the number of international attendees was not as high as in the past though the numbers from Eastern Europe seemed to have increased.

With a few exceptions, did GBA 2019 exceeded expectations?