ICAST still a necessity for top retailer after 40 years
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For more than 60 years, Crook & Crook has been a foremost retailer of fishing tackle and marine supplies in Miami, Florida, one of the world’s best-known fishing locations.
And for 40 of those years Karl Crook has been at the helm of the company and a regular visitor to what is now the largest fishing tackle trade show on the planet.
The name and locations of ICAST may have changed over the years, but for Crook the event is still the most important three days on his company’s calendar and one that has not changed in relevance for his business.
“It is a necessity for us to attend. As a retailer, you have got to go if you are serious about your business,” Crook told Angling International.
He added that attendance at the show ticked the boxes on so many levels – not just the array of gear that makes up the New Product Showcase, but its importance as a forum to gauge the health of the industry and discuss the issues of the day.
“The New Product Showcase is an excellent opportunity to see what is out there and what products are causing a buzz and creating excitement among visitors,” said Crook. “It is an area where we can check out items pertaining to our business and see products that we would not normally come across. There have been items there from manufacturers we had not previously heard of that have been successful for us.”
Crook noted: “There are more product categories on show. In the early days it used to be confined to fishing tackle, but now products include marine, electronics and apparel. That suits me fine as we cover all those. The only problem is three days is not enough for us to cover it all.”
He added: “ICAST is also a great sounding board for opinion,” said Crook. “One of the hot issues within the trade is the emergence of the internet and how to approach digital sales. Discussing it with others who are affected and getting their take on it is very helpful. That can only be done at an industry show like ICAST.
“I find the dialogue very useful. It is a great place to gather knowledge and talk to people who have differing opinions. There is no doubt that has a beneficial effect on your business.”
Missing out on ICAST can also be of detriment to your business. Crook explains: “If you are not there it can be a case of out of sight, out of mind. It means that you can slip off – or never be on – the radar of manufacturers.”
Crook concluded: “If you are at ICAST, they know you exist. If you are not, they can quickly forget about you and who you are.”