Guide to the 2011 Atlantic City Pool and Spa Show

photo of Atlantic City boardwalkWhen the Atlantic City Pool and Spa Show debuted almost 30 years ago, 125 companies set up shop at the Atlantic City Convention Hall to do business with about 4,000 builders, retailers and service pros, mostly from the tri-state area of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Hands were shaken and deals undertaken as the industry began to mature and headed into a 25-year period of expansion that lasted until the housing bubble brought the U.S. economy to its knees.

The exhibitors and attendees that first year couldn't have known what the quarter century that lay ahead held in store, but their attendance set them up nicely to share in its rewards. This year, the show's 29th, the floor will again be filled with industry participants looking to take important first steps toward a recovery, and hopefully another long period of prosperity.

Show organizers are banking on an increase from the 403 exhibitors at last year's show when the show kicks off Jan. 25. And they're hoping attendance, which topped 11,000 in 2010, will follow suit. The show now attracts attendees from far beyond the surrounding states, but it remains at its heart a drive-in show for the industry's Easterners.

Seminars

Attendees can do much more than snake the aisles of the show floor inking deals and picking up swag; there's also a robust education program, much of it free to APSP members. In addition to the show's excellent technical courses, there will be 25 business seminars covering topics ranging from integrated software tools and social media to retirement planning and increasing market share. All-day sessions for the truly ambitious are also available for an additional cost: APSP members and non-members can sign up for a forum on laws that affect business - sure to be a wide ranging discussion - on the Monday before the show. The technically inclined can learn about being "green" in a six-hour session, also on Monday.

After the show, casinos, restaurants and bars beckon (Google it), but be sure to take some time to venture off the Boardwalk. Don't head west with the crowd, but walk toward the sea and breathe it in while crash of the waves drowns out the sounds of the city behind you. You'll realize that all the bright lights on the Las Vegas Strip can't hold a candle to the Atlantic Ocean, the city's real treasure.

TRADE SHOW HOURS

Tuesday, Jan. 25 11-5

Wednesday, Jan. 26 11-5

Thursday, Jan. 27 10-2

Registration, badge pickup information, hotel reservations and more are available at www.acpoolspashow.com

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