Creating a Natural-Stone Show for America

StonExpo at TISE will be focus of multi-year effort.

By Emerson Schwartzkopf

VERONA, Italy – A new multi-year strategy aims to make the annual StonExpo/Marmomac Americas event the standout U.S. trade show for natural stone.

The plan, unveiled here on Sept. 30 during the 2021 Marmomac stone show, will build on recent developments in the United States concerning hard-surface trade exhibitions to build up StonExpo, a component of The International Surface Event (TISE) held annually in Las Vegas.

“We want this to become your North American destination for exhibiting natural stone,” said Jim Hieb, CEO of the Natural Stone Institute. “There are going to be great networking opportunities, fantastic education … and the buyers you want to meet are going to be there.” Hieb presented the five-year plan to expand and enhance the Natural Stone Pavilion at TISE along with TISE Show Director Dana Hicks, Marmomac Exhibition Manager Elena Amadini, and Michael Picco, institute president.

“We are turning this into the destination for companies to attend in North America.”

Jim Hieb CEO, Natural Stone Institute

The pavilion made its debut at TISE in January 2020, and also appeared on the exhibition floor during the most-recent edition this June. While the original presentation attracted a core representation of North American natural-stone producers, plans began then to develop an international mix of companies. “We met in Las Vegas before the big lockdown in 2020,” said Amadini (who spoke in Italian). “We said that we have to do something more. We have to take a step forward.” A survey of TISE attendees by Informa Markets, the show’s owner/producer, also shows a demand for more natural stone at the event. “That’s why we’re here today,” Hicks said. “Forty percent of our audience is looking to source natural stone.”

“40% of our audience is looking to source natural stone."

Dana Hicks Show Manager, TISE/StonExpo

Hieb noted a key part of the new emphasis came with the agreement between Informa and the Stone Equipment and Supply Alliance (SESA) after this year’s edition of TISE. SESA, a group of 50+ U.S. companies and representatives of fabrication goods, will use StonExpo exclusively for exhibiting machinery and other major presentations. “We recognize there are other shows In North America, but these equipment manufacturers are only going to showcase their products at StonExpo,” Hieb said. “That’s a compelling reason to be there.” Hieb also noted that the Natural Stone Pavilion, beginning next year, will also include a Natural Stone Theater for presentation, as well as on-the-show-floor education. “We will have companies from all around the world comng to not only exhibit,” Hieb said. “They're going to be given an opportunity to be part of a theater, and we're going to be educating architects and designers about natural stone.”

“This is the big project that all three of us have committed to for the next five years."

Elena Amadini Exhibition Manager, Marmomac

Current plans for the 2022 show, set for Feb. 1-3 in Las Vegas, offer space for 100 stone companies to exhibit, Hieb said. More than 25 North American stone companies are committed to appearing at next year’s StonExpo. The plan also involves working with other international stone organizations to encourage exhibition in the Natural Stone Pavilion. “This is the big push,” Amadini said. “This is the big project that all three of us have committed to for the next five years. We are

presenting it to all companies, and I truly believe it is a project with a great future and with great significance, especially for all companies operating in the world of natural stone.” “Imagine a day when StonExpo/Marmomac not only has over 100 stone companies, but over 200, over 300, over 400,” Hieb said. “We are turning this into the destination for companies to attend in North America.”.