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.
Besides the exotic and classic stones, new technology also gained the attention of entrepreneurs - including large-scale machinery from Italy.
Examining the American MarketGiven 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.”
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.”