The Vitória Stone Fair took place in the stoneworking center of Vitória, Espírito Santo, Brazil, from February 10 to 13.
The Vitória Stone Fair took place in the stoneworking center of Vitória, Espírito Santo, Brazil, from February 10 to 13, and despite difficulties on the worldwide economic front, the show remains a key event for the international stone trade. After a somewhat slow opening day, traffic on the trade show floor picked up as the event moved along, and exhibitors reported that they had quality meetings during the fair.
According to show organizers, Milanez & Milaneze, a total of 18,000 people visited the Vitoria Stone Fair, including 2,063 visitors from outside of Brazil.
A total of 360 exhibitors were present at the 2009 Vitoria Stone Fair, including 304 Brazilian firms and 56 foreign companies. The majority of exhibitors (214) came from the natural stone sector, and they represented the full spectrum of stone materials, including marble, granite, quartzite, onyx, slate and other stones. In addition to a range of different materials, stone could be found in a variety of formats and finishes - including backlit panels and brushed and textured surfaces. Moreover, stone products on display in Vitoria included slabs as well as tiles, mosaics, sinks, furnishings, panels and other architectural applications.
A total of 360 exhibitors were present at the 2009 Vitoria Stone Fair, including 304 Brazilian firms and 56 foreign companies.
Many of the exhibitors at the event were from the Espírito Santo State of Brazil, including firms from both the Cachoeiro de Itapemirim area and the Vitória area, as well as the states of Bahia, Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Pará, Paraná, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Ceará, Piauí, Roraima, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina. There were also some stone exhibitors from nations such as Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Peru and other countries.
Besides the exotic and classic stones, new technology also gained the attention of entrepreneurs - including large-scale machinery from Italy.
Once again Antolini Luigi & C. carried a unique presence on the show floor, and the company opened a new state-of-the-art facility in Brazil last year.
According to show organizers, Milanez & Milaneze, a total of 18,000 people visited the Vitoria Stone Fair, including 2,063 visitors from outside of Brazil. Of the foreign exhibitors, nearly half (48%) came from North America, and just under a third (31.1%) came from Europe. Visitors also came from Asia (8.5%) and elsewhere in South America (7.5%). In all, a total of 66 differentnations were represented in the 2009 Vitoria Stone Fair attendance.
In addition to large-scale equipment, the show floor included technology for custom fabricators and architectural work. Among them, Netherlands-based Prodim demonstrated its Proliner digital templating system.
Áureo Mameri, President of the trade association, Sindirochas, had a positive evaluation of the Vitoria Stone Fair. “I consider this the best fair we ever had, considering the international crisis and the market uncertainties we had to face,” he said. “The fair gave new direction and motivation to the entrepreneurs of the segment, showing new paths and opportunities for business. The sector ends the event with optimism and the tendency is [that] better days will come.”
Tenax do Brasil, the Brazilian subsidiary of Tenax S.p.A. of Italy, marked its 10th anniversary at this year’s event.
While the Vitoria Stone Fair has become an important destination for the international stone trade, it is also critical to the business success of Brazil’s Espírito Santo State - considering that it is responsible for 65% of all of Brazil’s slab exports. The event attracts a broad cross section of mainstream media personalities, it is also attended by several local and national dignitaries, including Paulo Hartung, Governor of Espírito Santo.
The event attracts a broad cross section of mainstream media coverage, and it is also attended by several local and national dignitaries, including Paulo Hartung, Governor of Espírito Santo.
Examining the American Market
Given that the U.S. is by far the leading importer of Brazilian stone products, the seminar program at the Vitoria Stone Fair regularly addresses the regular market, and speakers have included panelists from the U.S. as well as leading Brazilian exporters and trade officials.
This year, a detailed report was offered by representatives of the Marble Institute of America (MIA), who added to their appearances at Marmomacc in Verona, Italy, and StonExpo in Las Vegas, NV, over the past few months.
The presentation was made by MIA Executive Vice President Gary Distelhorst and Immediate Past President Jim Hogan of Carrara Marble Co. of America, and it addressed the current status of the North American market and how it related to Brazil.
Speaking on the “radon/granite scare,” the presentation recapped the negative publicity spearheaded by BuildClean and noted that while much of the sensationalism has died down, the issue will remain ongoing. It was also reported that Brazilian stoneworking companies donated $60,000 to the MIA’s “Truth About Granite” fund, which was established to directly combat the “radon scare.”
As part of the event’s seminar program, Marble Institute of America Executive Vice President Gary Distelhorst and Immediate Past President Jim Hogan of Carrara Marble Co. of America addressed the current status of the North American market and how it related to Brazil.
In terms of the American residential market for stone, Distelhorst cited a variety of statistics - particularly in terms of fabricator expectations. Quoting the Stone World fabricator survey published in January, Distelhorst reiterated that 40% of North American fabricators expected business to decline in 2009. On a more positive note over the long term, he also reported that 75.8% of American fabricators expected business to increase during the next five to 10 years.
On the commercial side, Hogan spoke about several specific markets in the U.S. He said that the San Francisco area was quiet, while the Los Angeles and Las Vegas markets are “mildly active.”
In addition to being organized by Milanez & Milaneze, the Vitória Stone Fair is promoted by the Cetemag and Sindirochas trade organizations, and it is supported by various entities of the Brazilian stone sector.
Vitória Stone Fair 2010 is expected to take place next February, once again at the Carapina Expo Center in Serra, Espírito Santo. “In 2010, we will intensify the promotion in markets that visited the event by working more intensively with the Brazilian Embassies in other countries,” stated Cecilia Milanez, Director of Milanez & Milaneze. “The objective is to [work] together with the entrepreneurs of the sector to create strategies to mobilize buyers from these markets, in addition to making adjustments to the fair [itself] so it can be even better.”
SIDEBAR:The Stones of the 2009 VitÃ³ria Stone Fair
As always, the stone producers that exhibit at the Vitória Stone Fair used the event to showcase their latest materials, including the traditional granites of Brazil in shades of gold, green and tan. It also included a broad range of exotics with unique colors and patterning, as well as new textures and finishes. The following is a look at just some of the stones on display in Brazil.